Illinois Valley Alzheimer’s Group members will get a breather from race day duties at the “Boo” Milby 5K Run/Memory Walk this weekend, and Starved Rock Runners will do more of the heavy lifting.

This year, the Alzheimer’s Group will continue to handle registration duties, T-shirt sales, securing of sponsorships and more. It’s all in an effort to raise funds for an organization that provides a monthly support group for families caring for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and which also provides a donations to nursing homes with Alzheimer’s units, makes an annual donation for Alzheimer’s research at Rush Medical Center in Chicago and provides free programs for the public such as an upcoming appearance by nationally known speaker Tepa Snow.

Alzheimer’s Group members and volunteers will be asked to gather around organizers Peg Gonet and Joanne Milby before the start of the race Saturday, in order to recognize Alzheimer’s Group volunteers who have helped run the race since it was established nearly two decades ago as an Alzheimer’s Association fundraiser.

Activities by group members before this year included ordering T-shirts, filling gift giveaway bags for runners and participants, collecting donations from donation cans in the community, securing gift certificates as prizes, putting out purple cut-out signs at busy intersections to promote the event, securing food, snacks and beverage donations, arranging for music to be played and helping with traffic control and times and “split times” during the race.

“This is basically the last year for us doing it,” said Milby. “I have mixed emotions.”

However she and other members are encouraged that the Starved Rock Runners want to keep the Boo Milby 5K on their circuit and want to operate the run.

“That’s a big benefit when we became part of that circuit,” said Bob Frig, an Oglesby resident and an Alzheimer’s Group member and volunteer whose wife is now severely disabled from Alzheimer’s disease.

He said the group can decide how to participate and raise more funds next year.

“We don’t know what part we’ll play in the future,” Frig said.

Currently, the runners group takes care of the start and finish lines and running club members Mark and Debbie Wackerline take care of computerized timing operations at races all over the area.

Milby said Starved Rock Runners welcomed the Alzheimer’s Group to do as much fundraising as they want before and during the event.

She said the Runners intend to provide a donation, and she knows her group will continue to operate a 50/50 drawing.

Starved Rock Runners treasurer John Steele said the Alzheimer’s Group also can continue to seek sponsorships for the race, for signage or inclusion on T-shirts, and sponsorships are a big money-maker for fundraisers. (Milby last week had a list of sponsorships that totaled $11,005.)

After this year the Boo Milby Memory 5K will become a Starved Rock Runners-operated race.

“We’ll take care of registration, traffic control, getting port-a-potties,” said Steele, who listed other things the Runners will take care of next year. “Were already doing the timing and the finish lines and they paid for it.”

The Starved Rock Runners Circuit includes dozens of races, but has only been completely in charge of the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning and Canal Connection (Nov. 3).

Also, after this year, Starved Rock Runners are dropping the Canal Connection because the state of Illinois started charging 10 percent of the gross receipts for events on state parkland, including the canal trail between La Salle and Utica.

“With the state taking 10 percent off of the top of the gross, if they were to take 10 percent off the top of a losing year, we’d really lose money,” Steele said.

Craig Sterrett can be reached at (815) 220-6935 or ntlocal@newstrib.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_NewsEditor.

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