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ITHACA, N.Y. – On May 8, the Red Key Athlete Honor Society is sponsoring the first Elizabeth Garrett Memorial 5K: A Moment of Grace. The run is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in Cornell Plantations.

“President Garrett motivated each and every one of us to be the best version of ourselves, and we felt it important to honor her with an event put together by the students,” said Olivia Wherry, co-captain of the Big Red women’s squash team and event co-organizer.

The event, which is open to the public, originated as an awareness raising and fundraising event for colon cancer.

Since Garrett’s death on March 6, the run has become a memorial event, with all proceeds to support the President Elizabeth Garrett Fund for Colon Cancer Research and student scholarships.

“This event is meant to be a celebration of life, not just a memorial service,” Wherry said.

When the late President Elizabeth Garrett addressed Cornell’s intercollegiate athletes during an orientation event in September 2015, she invoked a word that connotes beauty of spirit and of motion, a hallmark of sports at its highest levels.

“I think that as we win and as we compete on all the sports fields, what we need to exemplify is grace,” she said. “Grace is an old-fashioned word, a word that you don’t hear very much anymore, but to me it suggests an elegance, a finesse, a humility and, indeed, a sense of honor.”

The theme of Garrett’s address to the student-athletes is now the theme of a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) run dedicated to the memory of Cornell’s 13th president.

“It has been a great honor and experience working on this event and hearing about all of the amazing things that people had to say about President Garrett,” said All-Ivy League running back and captain of the Big Red football team, Luke Hagy, who helped organize the event. “It has been even cooler seeing all of the people who have reached out and are willing to help.”

The registration fee is $20 through May 6, $25 after that, with the first 100 registrants receiving an event T-shirt. Online sign-up can be done here.

Check-in is set for 8:30 a.m., with opening remarks at 9:30. Scheduled speakers are Andy Noel, the Meakem Smith Director of Athletics and Physical Education, and Olivia Wherry, co-president of the Red Key Society.

The Red Key Society honors varsity athletes and recognizes outstanding undergraduate contributors on and off the playing field. The Red Key Society is involved in planning many community service events in the Cornell and Ithaca communities.

Community sponsors of the event include Buffalo Wild Wings, Wegmans, Maxie’s Supper Club, Purity Ice Cream and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.

WHAT:          “Elizabeth Garrett Memorial 5K: A Moment of Grace” to honor legacy of President Garrett, raise colon cancer awareness, and support the President Elizabeth Garrett Fund for Colon Cancer Research and student scholarships

WHEN:          Sunday, May 8, 10 a.m.

WHERE:        Cornell Plantations, Ithaca

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.