One of Union County's most popular 5K races is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 8.

One of Union County's most popular 5K races is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 8.

The fifth annual United Way Game Day 5K, presented by Jerome Village, will get started at 9 a.m. at Glacier Ridge Metro Park, near Dublin.

The race, which incorporates a college-football-tailgate-party theme, is held the morning of a big Ohio State game. The Buckeyes play at Nebraska on Oct. 8.

"We've combined the area's passion of a football Saturday with a first-class 5K event," said Dave Bezusko, United Way's campaign and public-relations director. "We pump in college football fight songs on the PA, and runners dress up in the colors of their favorite teams. It's always a fun event."

Bezusko said nearly 100 runners have pre-registered for the race and that those planning to participate should do likewise to avoid race-day lines and save some money. Last year, there were 171 finishers. Early registration is $25 and can be done online at Race-day sign-ups at the park are $30. Those who recruit friends also get a discount, as teams of five competing for special group prizes may register their entire team for $100.

Thanks to event sponsors, 100 percent of all registration fees go directly toward the annual United Way campaign, which currently stands at 25 percent of its $900,000 goal.

The race is run on a paved, flat course through Glacier Ridge Metro Park and is coordinated by Premier Sports, using ChronoTrack Chip Timing to ensure accurate timing. Cash prizes of $100, $50 and $25 will be awarded to the top three overall male and female finishers, while the top three male and female finishers in 11 different age groups will receive medals.

Participants are encouraged to wear an outfit supporting their favorite college football team. The most creative and outlandish will receive prizes for showing the most team spirit. Complimentary postrace food and refreshments will be provided.

New for 2011, the first 200 registered participants will receive Live United T-shirts

The Game Day 5K is a part of the Union County Grand Prix Series, which in 2012 will allow local runners to compete in a seasonlong, points-accumulating competition that involves more than 10 local races.

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