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'Step Up for Colleen 5K' Expected to Draw 3,000

Ritzer, a Danvers High School teacher, was murdered by a student last year, authorities said.

Colleen Ritzer. File photo.
Colleen Ritzer. File photo.
A road race will be held in May in memory of Colleen Ritzer, the Andover resident and Danvers High School teacher who authorities said was murdered by a student last year.

The first annual Step Up for Colleen 5K Walk/Run will be held Sunday.

Below is a news release about the event:

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The 1st Annual Step Up for Colleen 5K Walk/Run, in loving memory of Colleen Ritzer, will be held on Sunday, May 4, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. in downtown Andover. Event organizers are expecting more than 3,000 participants. All proceeds support the Step Up for Colleen Fund at Essex County Community Foundation. For more information and to register or make a donation, please visit colleenritzer5k.com.

Friends and family of Colleen Ritzer planned this event to celebrate Colleen’s life and her commitment to helping and inspiring others. "Colleen was such a giving person, and cared so much about other people," says event director Nina Caron. "We need more of that in the world."

The walk/run will begin at the corner of Bartlet Street and Chestnut Street, continue through the bird sanctuary at Phillips Academy, and conclude at the Center at Punchard (formerly known as the Andover Senior Center) at 30 Whittier Court. 

Everyone who plans to participate should register in advance ($25 per person). Online registration ends at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, May 2. The first 3,000 people who register are guaranteed to receive a shirt designed specifically for this event. Participants are encouraged to wear pink, which was Colleen’s favorite color. They are also encouraged to visit Facebook (Facebook.com/StepUpforColleenRitzer) and Twitter (Twitter.com/ColleenRitzer5K) for up-to-the-minute information about parking, road closures, shirt/number pick-up, etc.

Step Up for Colleen 5K sponsors include: besimpler, DMSE Sports, DoubleTree by Hilton, Essex County Community Foundation, Greater Boston Running Company, Pazzo Gelato, and Yang's Fitness & Wellness Center.

About Colleen Ritzer

Colleen Ritzer, a lifelong resident of Andover, passed away on October 23, 2013 at the age of 24. She was a 2007 graduate of Andover High School and a 2011 graduate of Assumption College. Colleen was pursuing a graduate degree at Salem State College and was a math teacher at Danvers High School. She adored spending time with her family and friends, and was an amazing daughter and big sister to her brother and sister, Daniel and Laura. From a young age, Colleen knew she wanted to be a teacher and worked diligently to achieve her goal. Even though teaching was her profession, it was also one of her favorite hobbies and her passion. She spent countless hours finding unique and creative ways to inspire and teach her students.

About the Step Up for Colleen Fund

The Step Up for Colleen Fund supports charitable activities that honor the legacy of Colleen Ritzer, including the Colleen E. Ritzer Scholarship Fund, which benefits Andover and Danvers High School seniors who demonstrate a passion for teaching, academic excellence, and love of family.

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