Hundreds of runners and walkers will hit the streets of downtown Belleville Saturday for the 13th annual Law Day 5K.
The first Law Day 5K in Belleville was in 2002 with just 90 runners. In 2013, more than 950 people ran or walked the course that winds through the eastern neighborhoods, on some cobblestone streets, in the city's historic downtown.
This year, about 500 people are signed up for the race, leaving plenty of room for late entries, according to race co-director Angie Baron.
This year, participants who already signed up are guaranteed a black technical shirt with a lime green Law Day emblem.
"They are beautiful," Baron said.
A limited number of shirts remain for those who register late.
"The best part of our race is the finish line," Baron continued. "We have a fun post-race party planned with lots of food, great music, YMCA rock wall and sports massages and heath screening from both hospitals and local therapists."
In addition, Michelob Ultra will be served after the race for those who are 21 and older, Baron said.
Proceeds from the Belleville run benefit Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation in East St. Louis.
The first year, the race sent $2,000 to Land of Lincoln.
Last year, more than $10,000 was raised to help provide free civil legal services to low income residents and senior citizens in 65 counties, including St. Clair County.
"It helps us maintain the high level of services that we've been able to provide," said Linda Zazove, deputy director for programs and advocacy.
This year, Land of Lincoln employees will volunteer to set up the course, work water stops and other behind-the-scenes needs, as well as a few who will run the 5K, Zazove said.
Many lawyers and other members of the legal community will partake in the Law Day race and volunteer to help make it a success.
But race race co-director Pam Gallagher clarified that you don't have to be a lawyer to run. "It's open to the public," she said.
There's still time to sign up for the Law Day 5K.
Packet pick-up and late registration will be from 4 to 7 p.m. today and Friday at Belleville's Park and Recreation Department, 501 W. Main St. Racers should use the South Sixth Street entrance.
Saturday sign-up and packet pick-up will begin at 7 a.m. in the parking lot at North High and East A streets.
The 5K and wheelchair race begins at 9 a.m. A 1K Youth Fun Run will begin at 10 a.m. A post-race party and awards ceremony will begin at 10:15 a.m.
Law Day also is the first of three events for the Belleville Triple Crown. Athletes who complete each of the following events during this calendar year will be awarded the 2014 Belleville Triple Crown Athlete medal: Law Day on Saturday; Tour de Belleville 15 mile bike ride on July 11; and Gingerbread Run 5K on Dec. 6.
For more information about Law Day, visit lawdayrun.com.
Contact reporter Maria Hasenstab at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2460.