Spectrum Health’s annual 5K to raise funds for colorectal cancer prevention and awareness is returning for its 38th year.
The Irish Jig 5K will be held Saturday, March 19, at East Grand Rapids High School Gerken Field, at 2211 Lake Drive SE. Runners will start at 8:30 a.m. Walkers are invited to join the jig and will start approximately 15 minutes after the runners or once all runners have crossed the starting line.
Discounted registration is available online until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 17. If race participation reaches 2,500 walkers and runners, online registration will close early. Late registration will be available during event check-in on Friday, March 18, and Saturday, March 19.
The USA Track & Field-certified course is predominately flat with a few gentle hills through East Grand Rapids. Top age-group winners and qualifying teams receive prizes, and top overall finishers receive cash awards. Teams must have a minimum of five and a maximum of 10 members to qualify for team awards. Team competitions are separated into three categories: large companies, small companies and a social division.
Costumes are encouraged, though not required, and all participants will receive a race shirt. All participants are encouraged to wear blue or green clothing on race day to celebrate health care workers.
Upon check-in, racers will receive their assigned bib number while also being able to select a bib or bibs to wear on their back: a green bib that honors a friend or family member dealing with cancer or a blue bib celebrating health care workers.
March also is known as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. All net proceeds from the event are donated to Spectrum Health Cancer Center’s colorectal cancer fund to provide colorectal cancer screenings, prevention and diagnostic services in West Michigan.
According to Spectrum Health, among cancers affecting both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., but it is preventable. Through increased awareness of the risks and symptoms, advances in screening tests and evolving treatments, the number of people diagnosed and dying from the disease continues to decline.
In 2022, new guidelines encourage people between the ages of 45 and 50 to schedule an annual screening and improve early detection efforts. More information is at this link.