Run for Justice

5K to raise funds for legal education and awareness

T-L Photo/JENNIFER COMPSTON-STROUGH The Belmont County Courthouse will serve as the destination for runners and walkers taking part in the inaugural Race for Justice 5K on Saturday morning. The fundraiser aims to legal education and awareness, especially among young people.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — On your mark, get set and … help raise money for a good cause.

The Run for Justice 5K — Presented by WVU Medicine steps off at 8 a.m. Saturday from the new Belmont County Divisional Courthouse, located at 52160 National Road East, St. Clairsville. Participants will follow National Road west into St. Clairsville, with the finish line at the main Belmont County Courthouse at 101 W. Main St. in downtown St. Clairsville.

According to Northern Division Judge Adam Myser, primary organizer of the event, the distance between the two court facilities happens to be just the right distance for a 5K course.

Although this is the inaugural year for the race, Myser said as of Tuesday 160 people are registered to take part. Since he has been told that 30-35% of participants in most races register in the last two weeks before an event, he anticipates that about 200 people ultimately will be involved.

To register, visit runsignup.com and search for “Run for Justice.” Myser said registration can be completed up until five minutes before the race starts, and organizers will be on site at the divisional courthouse for in-person registration beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday.

“The hope is that this will be a yearly event,” Myser said. “It’s going to be around Law Day, which is May 1. It’s an event where the community can work with the Belmont County Bar Association and the court system to engage in an activity where we can fundraise … to be able to offset some of our local government and local legal educational programs.”

He said the funds will be used to present mock trials and to support a traveling court from the Northern Division. He said the funds could also benefit high school Close-Up programs, which allow students to visit Washington, D.C. for an up-close look at the federal government, as well as legal education for pro se litigants who file for divorce. In the fall, the court will also launch a program working with high school government classes to allow students to travel to Columbus to tour the Statehouse and state Supreme Court building.

Myser said he believes it is a responsibility of the bar association, the local courts and the legal system at large to support local legal and government education. But he also planned the fundraiser as a race because it provides opportunities for people to be active.

“I think there is a community among us of runners and walkers who thoroughly enjoy this type of fundraising. … It’s a fundraiser where you can get out and be active,” he noted. “… We have had the support of our county. We have had the support of our county health system, so if we can tie in our county employees for the health and the wellness and the benefit that that provides, not only with the running, but with the training and trying to live a healthier lifestyle for our employees, raise some funds in the process and tie in our two main legal courthouses in the county, then … we;ve been able to check off a lot of boxes here with one community-wide fundraiser.”

Myser noted that the first 40 county employees who register to participate will receive a mug and have the cost of the registration covered.

Runners and walkers will be divided into age groups. The male and female winner for each group will receive a trophy. There are also three team running categories, and the winners of those events will receive team-oriented prizes. A total of 32 prizes will be awarded in all, and every participant will receive a T-shirt.

Myser said the event will have a staggered start, with runners taking off ahead of the walkers. Because the course follows a busy highway, a number of groups will be assisting with traffic control. In downtown St. Clairsville, that will be handled by the St. Clairsville Police Department, but outside city limits the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio Department of Transportation, Belmont County Sheriff’s Department, Richland Township Police Department and the Cumberland Trail Fire District all will assist.

There will be two aid stations along the route, sponsored by WVU Medicine and Softite Community Federal Credit Union, staffed by representatives of the sponsors. Both will have water available, as well as information about the distance traveled and the distance yet to go. Plus, people staffing the stations will be there to cheer on the participants.

And there will be more to do than just race from place to place. Myser said there will be a DJ at the start and finish lines, and there will be food offered after the race, thanks to some in-kind sponsors.

And since it is a point-to-point race a shuttle service will operate between the start and finish lines. Myser said there will be three shuttles prior to the start of the race, leaving from the main courthouse to take runners and walkers to the starting line. Two shuttles will run at 10 and 10:30 a.m. to return people to their vehicles after the race ends.


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