MAC Inc. St. Paddy’s Run is Saturday, March 9

Dr. Mary DiBartolo, Mark Welsh and Rhonda Evans.

It takes a lot of work, over many months, to plan the annual St. Paddy’s Day 5K Run/2-Mile Walk to benefit MAC Inc. This year’s milestone 20th annual run/walk is set for Saturday, March 9, beginning at the Salisbury Elks Lodge.

The driving force behind the 20 years of success of this popular event is the dedication and hard work of its three key organizers: Mark Welsh, Dr. Mary DiBartolo and Rhonda Evans.

For Evans, the fight against Alzheimer’s disease is personal, having lost her father, other relatives and friends to the disease. Her volunteer efforts have raised money to help Alzheimer’s caregivers find some relief from the 24/7 task of caring for a loved one with dementia, at MAC.

Evans works as a registered dental hygienist and a Realtor with ERA Martin Associates, and founded the Alzheimer’s Association of the Eastern Shore in 1993.

Dr. Mary DiBartolo was moved to join the fight by her mother, who had Alzheimer’s. She has been inspired to stay in the fight by Evans and Welsh, and motivated, in her words, by “MAC and all their great services to help area seniors, but especially how they support dementia caregivers.”

“I am always impressed with the runners that come year after year, they know each other and support each other. I love the camaraderie,” she added.

“For years I thought to myself that I should start running and be a part of the run,” she said. “Better late than never as this will be my last year organizing and my first year running. I hope to be back next year to compete to support a wonderful organization that serves the senior community,” said DiBartolo, a professor in the School of Nursing at Salisbury University.

As a CPA, this time of year is especially busy for Welsh, the race chairman. But he always finds time to lead the 5K committee.

“I definitely feel a sense of pride for myself and the core volunteers, many of whom have been participating for all 20 years, and the money we have raised,” Welsh said. The run/walk has netted more than $250,000 over the last 19 races.

During its two decades in existence, the St. Paddy’s Day run/walk has also enjoyed tremendous support from a generous Lower Shore community, in the form of sponsorships and in-kind donations from area businesses and organizations.

Although this will be the last year the trio leads the planning for the event, the 5K event will continue with MAC. Proceeds support MAC programs and services for those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory impairments, and their family members and caregivers.

There is still time for runners and walkers to register for the 20th Annual St. Paddy’s Day 5K Run/2-Mile Walk.

Check-in and late registration begin at 2 p.m. at the Salisbury Elks Lodge. The run/walk steps off at 3 p.m. and follows a scenic course through the Salisbury zoo and park.

Online registration (runners only) closes at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6. In addition, mail-in registration must be postmarked no later than March 4. The first 200 registrants are guaranteed an event T-shirt.

The cost is $25 for walkers; $25 for runners in advance and $35 the day of the race.

No dogs are allowed in the zoo portion of the 5K route.

Overall awards are presented to the top three male and female finishers; awards are also presented to the top three finishers in various age divisions.

An awards party following the race is free to registered participants; guests can attend the after-party for $5, $15 for families of three or more, and children under age 5 will be admitted to the party free. The party will feature free food and beverages, door prizes, a 50/50 raffle and live auction, with Salisbury Mayor Jake Day as the auctioneer.

Morgan Hazel, co-owner of Fixer Upper Fitness in Salisbury, joins the event again this year as honorary chairman.

For race information, call 410-742-0505, ext. 118; email cfr@macinc.org; or visit macinc.org/st-paddys-5k.html

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