By JEFF GALLATIN
BAY VILLAGE – For OutRun Ovarian Cancer founder Gretchen Nock, the run to get the race done never ends even though the 14th and latest version of the annual 5K run/walk event will be held Saturday in downtown Cleveland.
“We work on it all through the year,” said the longtime Bay Village resident. ‘It’s not just having the race on race day. We have fashion shows and other smaller events throughout the year to draw attention to and raise funds for the event. And there always is work and preparation going on to help people and get the event done. We’re fortunate to have a group of dedicated volunteers who work on it all the time.”
Key events and times include:
7:15 a.m. – Race Day Registration and Late Packet Pickup
8:00 a.m. – Celebration Rally
8:30 a.m. – Survivors’ Tribute
8:50 a.m. – Survivor Group Photo
9:00 a.m. – 5K Race Start
9:05 a.m. – 1-Mile Family Fun Run Start
10:00 a.m. -Awards Ceremony
5K (B-Tag chip timed)
1 Mile (Untimed)
Team registration/team participant registration closed last week while individual registration ended Monday. However, they will still accept in-person individual registration Saturday morning starting at 7:15.
Nock and her team call tell you numbers such as 28,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year. She’ll tell you proudly the race has raised nearly $1 million in its 14-year history that is used to provide a wide range of resources to help ovarian cancer survivors, as well as their family, friends and caregivers. Those resources also are extended to area medical facilities like the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospital and Cleveland Metrohealth Hospital.
“We want to find a way to beat and get rid of ovarian cancer, but a large part of our work is devoted to helping the survivors of ovarian cancer, as well as their family and friends and caregivers,” she said. “We want people to know we’re there for them. And we’re fortunate to have not just one, but three first class medical institutions in the Clinic, University Hospitals and Metro. We’ve provided resources to all three which help deal with ovarian cancer and help people affected by it who are being treated at the hospitals.”
Like many people, Nock got into the fight against ovarian cancer because of a personal connection. Both her aunt, Rosemary Eaton, and mother, Elizabeth Gibbons, had ovarian cancer.
“We find so many people like that, where a relative or close friend has had it and they’ve all been affected by it,” she said. “It makes for a lot of caring people and understanding of what people have been going through. It also gives all a strong bond and willingness to help each other and work together as a team to get these things done.”
Nock emphasizes she is a strong advocate of the team concept and demurs when you talk to her about founding the event and still working to get it done.
“There’s no way we get this done without a lot of people involved in the entire thing,” she said. “Jim and Ellena Muraco, pretty much organize and take care of the actual race part of this along with many other things. There’s no way this gets done without them. And the other people are just amazing as well, whether it’s the survivors and their family and caregivers, people who care and are participating and other volunteers, people and groups who do many things to get this done,” she said.
Nock notes the event has come a long way in 14 years.
“Our first year at University Circle we probably had about 300 people in runners and participants, with the volunteers probably outnumbering the runners in that,” she said. “This year we’re expecting about 2,500 to 3,000 people and its still growing.”
Nock is quick to credit the greater Cleveland area as well.
“This is just a great location at the Rock Hall with downtown Cleveland and Lake Erie so near to us,” she said. “When we have the survivors rally and look around it’s just great to see. We’ve come here every year after the first year at University Circle and it’s always great for helping us get support.”
Nock also praises her hometown, Bay Village as providing a fine example.
“There are a lot of hard-working people there,” she said. “Something gets started in Bay, it gets done. That’s just how people are. There are a lot of Bay Village people involved in this. Jane Finley is a Bay High School sophomore (who has beaten back cancer herself) will be singing the national anthem and there are many others who take part and do a lot of things.”
For Nock, helping out is still the primary goal. Not only can people find information about the race on the website oroc.org , they also can find information about early detection signs for ovarian council, medical and resource information and other resources that can help people deal with the disease.
“We got into this to help people, that’s something that we will always be working on,” she said.