The Gary Smith Worthington Classic on June 9 will be powered by more than 50 volunteers who work in nearly every aspect of the event.

The event memorializes its namesake, Gary Smith, a former Thomas Worthington High School English teacher and coach who mentored cross country and track teams at multiple levels.

Smith died from pancreatic cancer in 1998.

The race named for him began the following year after students and family who attended his funeral vowed to make something in his honor, said Nicole Gnezda, Smith's wife and president of Gary Smith Race & Charities. Gnezda now is married to John Snouffer, who helps run the event.

The event, which is in its 21st year, includes a 5-mile race, a 3-mile walk and a 2-mile children's race.

But none of that would be possible without volunteers, Gnezda said.

Volunteers run registration, the four water stations along the route and the food table, supervise the children's race and monitor traffic and street closings, she said.

Volunteer coordinator Kathy Montag said a typical day for a volunteer depends on his or her assigned station.

Check-in for volunteers is at the Dow Nelson Fieldhouse at Thomas Worthington High School, 330 W. Dublin-Granville Road.

Montag said she got involved because of her relationship with Snouffer, who taught and coached her when she was growing up in Westerville.

Street volunteers typically arrive by 8:40 a.m. to help set up cones to keep cars from entering the course, Montag said.

If someone is stationed at the beginning of the race, it could be a short day, but volunteers farther along the track are expected to stay longer as the runners spread out, she said.

Typically, 50 to 60 volunteers are needed for the event, Montag said, and more volunteers are needed for the 5-mile race and the children's race.

Volunteers still may sign up at tinyurl.com/https-GSVolunteer2019-com or call 614-436-1972, Gnezda said.

Montag said she enjoys being involved because of the energy of the race.

"The community feel to this race is amazing," she said. "(Gnezda) and (Snouffer) have built this event into something runners from all over look forward to each year. Families in the neighborhood all along the route come out to cheer the participants on, help with water stations and offer support to everyone along the way.

"The camaraderie among the runners, walkers, kids and spectators is uplifting and inspirational."

For more information or to register for the race, go to racepenguin.com/events/garysmithwc.

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