Runners may register at the gate or online for the 19th annual Gary Smith Worthington Classic – a 5-mile run through Worthington neighborhoods to honor a beloved track coach and teacher.

The event also includes a 3-mile "neighborly" walk and a 2-mile children's race.

The race begins at 9 a.m. Sunday, June 11, at Thomas Worthington High School, 300 W. Dublin-Granville Road.

Registration is availabe in advance at fleetfeetcolumbus.com.

Gary Smith was a Worthington teacher and track and cross-country coach who died in 1998. At Smith's memorial service, athletes and their parents decided to begin the annual race in his honor, said Nicole Gnezda, who was Gary's wife when he died.

Proceeds from the race fund scholarships for Thomas Worthington track and cross-country athletes and support children's charities.

Gnezda said the race is a community event "in memory of Gary and what he built his life on: compassion and service to others."

"Neighbors come out to cheer the runners and everyone has a great time," she said.

Gnezda said Christina Nash and Kiara Coleman were awarded the female track/cross country scholarship this year.

The male track/cross country scholarship went to Ty Banks, she said.

The Gary Smith Heart & Hurdle Award went to Korrie Cornelius.

Gnezda said to be considered for the scholarships, students must exhibit leadership and "intrinsically understand the meaning of Gary Smith's philosophy."

Smith was known for saying, "Run as hard as you can and let your heart take you the rest of the way."

pwillis@thisweeknews.com

@PamelaThisWeek