The fifth annual Forget Me Not 5K will take place Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. at the Loudon County Visitor Center in Lenoir City. Proceeds from the race will benefit the Pat Summitt Foundation and Alzheimer's research.
Although the race has boomed from 100 runners in its first year to an expected 800 at this year's event, the Forget Me Not 5K's origin story is somewhat "unconventional," race director Angela Wampler said.
"My daughter, while home from college for summer, had a dream," Wampler said. "In her dream, she and I were running a 5K – which we often do. She looked at my shirt and it said 'The Forget Me Not 5K for Alzheimer's.' My mom has the disease. So we decided to act on her dream."
Before joining forces with Summitt, the race took place twice and donated proceeds to the Cole Neuroscience Center, a research institute for Alzheimer's research. But upon hearing of Summitt's early onset dementia, the race gained a new focus.
"After Pat was diagnosed, we thought it was a perfect partnership to work with her foundation to fight this dreaded disease," Steve Harrelson, another of the race's coordinators, said.
On race day, there will be a pre-race party as runners arrive and sign in. Refreshments will be provided both before and after the race. Wampler said the event is followed by a party including a disk jockey and door prizes such as signed basketballs.
"Fingers crossed Pat will be there," Wampler said. "She is our hero and needs our help to fight this fight against such a fierce opponent."
For more information and to register for the race, www.forgetmenot5k.com.