Runners gathered at the Veterans Memorial before the race.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass.— Nearly 60 runners and walkers lined up on Eagle Street to participate in the returning Up Front for DeMar 5k Run and 1 Mile Walk Sunday.
"We are so grateful that people came back out to remember Michael and make sure his name is never forgotten," event organizer Eileen Sullivan said to the runners and walkers gathered at the Veterans Memorial before the race. "Remember him, tell his story, remember the soldiers that are still out there, because there are so many."
This annual event raises funds for the SPC Michael R DeMarsico II Scholarship Fund and honors DeMarsico who was killed in action on Aug. 16, 2012, while serving in Afghanistan. DeMarsico, 20, was killed 10 years ago by a roadside bomb while on patrol
The race stepped off at 9:00 a.m. during a light rain.
"It is raining, and Michael is laughing at us," DeMarsico's mother Lisa DeMarsico laughed.
"It has been ten years," she reflected quietly. "It is still hard to believe."
She thanked all those who keep the event going, specifically Sullivan, noting all of the good DeMarsico's memory does for the community. She said to date they have raised well over $20,000 and each year provides two $1,000 scholarships to high school students.
She added that the group also gives back to the community where needed.
"Wherever there is a community need," she said. "Whether the schools need something or there is a fire or an emergency. We don't judge, whoever needs it."
The runners headed towards Ashland Street towards the DeMarsico monument in front of the North Adams Armory Center that the city dedicated to DeMarsico in 2017.
The course ended at the American Legion.
The event returns after a two-year absence through the pandemic. Lisa added that it was important to the organizing group to put the community's safety and health above all else.
Lisa acknowledged that the group of runners and walkers was smaller than in previous years, but she was still grateful for the community support that she felt would grow as the city continues to emerge from the pandemic.
"It's a smaller group but that's ok it's a restart," she said. "We are glad to be back"
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