Celebrate Westlake: Great Turnout for a Community Cause

Runner John Cunningham jumps for joy as he crosses the finish line.

Runner John Cunningham jumps for joy as he crosses the finish line.

Celebrate Westlake stepped off in fine style Saturday morning. The 24th running of this annual 5 Mile Race at St. John Medical Center attracted almost 1000 participants.

Over the years, Celebrate Westlake has generated over $1.5 million for community causes. This year’s race once again attracted the best in local road running talents as well as runners from throughout Ohio and other states.

Founding father Bud Hagy noted that this year saw the return of the name ‘Celebrate Westlake’ to the event after several years as the ‘North Coast Challenge.’ Race participation was also boosted by the addition of a 5K run and walk.

The main focus of the event, said Hagy, is in giving back to the community.  “Helping local charities has been our passion for 24 years,” said Hagy. “And it will be even bigger and better next year as we step off for the 25th anniversary of ‘Celebrate Westlake’.

“None of this would be possible without the support of our sponsors,” said Hagy as he joined with Mayor Dennis Clough and SJMC President Bill Young in welcoming runners. Funds go to community causes like the DARE program, West Shore Y, Westlake Rec Center and many more.

Rob Byrne gets a salute from his son as he finishes the race behind a tandem stroller.

Rob Byrne gets a salute from his son as he finishes the race behind a tandem stroller.

“It is just good to give back,” said Hagy. “I especially love to see the kid’s runs. I have seen kids who got their first taste of running at this event go on to high school to join track and cross country teams.”

After much thought,  a decision was made to go back to the Celebrate Westlake roots of the event this year.   “We are very excited about rebranding back to Celebrate Westlake and reconnecting with all families and local businesses in Westlake and the surrounding communities” said Race Director Rick Fagan.

“We are very pleased to host this event on our grounds,” says SJMC president and CEO William A. Young, Jr. “As a healthcare facility, one of our major goals is to promote health and wellness.”

This year’s Celebrate Westlake event was dedicated to the memory of Kelly Kramer, 25, who died in a one-car crash on I-90 on Aug. 4.

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