Strawberry Fest Race will help pay for walking trail at Bullard

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 June 2016 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Brian Krieger wears one of the T-shirts for this Saturday’s Strawberry Festival 5k/8k.

ALBION – Organizers of this Saturday’s 26th annual Strawberry Festival 5k/8k will set aside some of the proceeds from the race to help develop a walking trail at Bullard Park.

That crusher-run trail with a dust screen is planned for the perimeter of the park. It could go ½ mile to ¾ mile depending on the funds available for the project. The trail could take a wider loop close to Sandy Creek for the bigger route.

“Cost will dictate what we can and can’t do,” said Brian Krieger, race director and executive director of the Albion Running Club, which is pushing for the trail.

Krieger met with the Albion Village Board last month about the project and village officials supported working on the project. Krieger wants the walking trail to be dedicated to Judy Christopher and Wayne Burlison.

Christopher organized the first 19 Strawberry Festival races. She also owned Phoenix Fitness, and advocated for fitness in the community. Christopher died from cancer at age 70 on Aug. 3, 2013.

Burlison helped start the Albion Running Club, and also promoted healthy living in the Albion area. He teamed with Krieger in a Run for God program that took people from the couch to finishing a 5K.

File photo – Sheila Lemcke of Albion was The Strawberry in the 2014 race.

The Running Club now has an annual Run for Wayne. Some of the proceeds from that race in April will go to the walking trail. Burlison died from cancer on March 26, 2014 at age 36. He was an elementary music teacher at Albion.

Krieger said there may be memorial bricks or trees available for the trail.

The Strawberry Festival Race continues to grow in popularity. Last year set a new record with about 320 runners.

This year’s race will again include a runner dressed as a strawberry, and people who beat the costumed character will win a prize (a coupon for an ice cream cone at Watt Farms).

Krieger won’t reveal who will be The Strawberry at Saturday’s race except to say it will be a new person in the role, a woman from Medina.

There will also be prizes –  strawberry jam from Panek’s – for the top three finishers in age groups. The top overall finishers for men and women in the 5k will receive $50 and the 8k winners will get $100.

Race fees are free for runners 70 or older, a tribute in honor of Mrs. Christopher.

For more on the race, click here.