5th Annual Event to Benefit the International College Scholarship Fund

Do some serious stretching, and then grab your sneakers and favorite running outfit. The John Clay 5K Run & Walk returns and will be held 7:30 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 31, at scenic Lowdermilk Park in Naples.

The John Clay race, in its fifth year and sponsored by International College, drew a record 330 competitors last year and raised an estimated $2,500, said Les Sutter, International College Professor and Gulf Coast Runners Club member. This year’s goal is to raise $3,000. Proceeds benefit the International College Scholarship Fund.

The race traditionally marks the start of the competitive racing season in the area, Sutter added.

“People look forward to this event. It’s a key summer run for high school students that kicks off cross country racing season,” Sutter said. “Every year has had record turnout, and we expect it again this year.”

New this year, all runners and walkers will receive a red finisher ribbon and a four-color AMERICA STRONGER THAN EVER T-shirt. Category winners will receive 3-D medals with sports ribbons. Contestants can register by age category or by special divisions: Clydesdale, for men weighing 190 pounds and over; Athena, for women weighing 145 pounds and over; or Wheelchair.

International College Runners’ Club President Louis Chiapetta said he looks forward to the John Clay race every year. This is his third year participating in the event.

“I never miss a race,” he said, adding that he ran in 26 races last year. Running is a new way of life for Chiapetta, who three years ago went on a diet and lost 100 pounds. “I love running. In order to keep in shape, I run races.”

Though Chiapetta competes in many area races, he admits John Clay is one of those closest to his heart. Chiapetta earned a bachelor’s degree in Management from International College in 2000 and is working toward a master’s degree in public administration.

“The fact the proceeds go toward International College’s Scholarship Fund means a lot to me. It’s a good cause,” Chiapetta said. “Also, Lowdermilk Park is a great location and the course is an easy and fast one.”

Chiapetta enjoys the race so much, he’s spreading the word. Chiapetta, also a school resource officer at Estero High School, told track coach Jeff Summer about the John Clay race. Summer is considering having the entire Estero High track team participate in the race, Chiapetta said.

Pre-registration for the race is $12 for the general public; $8 for Gulf Coast Runners Club members; and $5 for students. For more information call Les Sutter at 800-466-8017.
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