TOWNSEND — More than 300 runners and walkers are expected to take part in the inaugural Gregory Reeves Memorial Road Race this Saturday, beginning and ending in Townsend Common.
Reeves was killed last year in Worcester doing what he loved the most: run. He was struck by a pickup truck near the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), where he was an engineering student. Reeves was 19 at the time of his death.
He was a 2003 graduate of North Middlesex Regional High School and was considered by those closest to him to be a gentleman, scholar and athlete. He was captain of the track team his last year in high school. He was also a member of ROTC and has received the Silver Medal, which is the Sons of the American Revolution award. He was slated to go into the Army as an officer upon completion of his college education.
William Reeves, Greg’s father, said they have received over 300 pre-registrations for the event.
“We are very pleased with the amount of people that want to participate,” he said in a telephone interview.
The route of the race is one Greg ran often. The event kicks off at 10:30 a.m., leaving from in front of the Townsend Congregational Church on Brookline Street. The path then goes up Highland Street, where there will be a water station at the top of the hill. The route then goes down Wallace Hill Road to Meadow Road, then to Adams Road, and reconnects with Highland Street, where the participants will go back to Brookline Street. The total length of the route is 4.6 miles.
“It’s the route Greg loved the best,” Reeves said.
Reeves said the first 300 participants to show up will receive a commemorative T-shirt. There will also be cash prizes for the first place overall male and female runners of $250.
All the proceeds will go to the Gregory Reeves Scholarship fund, started by the family. The scholarships will be given to North Middlesex pupils who will attend WPI after graduation.
“It’s a way to keep Greg’s memory alive,” his father said.
Reeves said the Townsend Fire Department will be on hand for a chicken barbecue after the race, and burgers, hot dogs and baked beans will be available.
“My wife, Deb, and I will be there to make sure registration goes well, and the food is taken care of,” he said. “The Fire Department has been great with volunteering their equipment and services.”
Reeves said he and his wife will not walk the race with the participants, but they will walk it together later in the day.
Police Chief Erving Marshall said the police will detour traffic away from the route and close off Brookline Street.
“We will have the route closed off to traffic for the duration of the race, there will be detours in place Saturday morning,” Marshall said. “We don’t want any accidents or incidents during the fund-raiser.”
Reeves said the family plans on having the event be an annual one.
“This is the first one, and so far the turnout is wonderful,” he said. “There are some competitors that have signed up, as well as people that just like to walk and knew Greg.”