You could not have asked for a better day for a 5K. With sunny skies and a comfortable breeze, 804 runners and walkers took to the streets of North Kingstown for the CVS Caremark NK5K.
"This was definitely a record-breaking year," said NK5K committee member Steve Brunero. "Last year was a record year and this year just blew it away."
Brunero attributes part of that participation boost to the – a group of family and friends remembering the late in a car accident.
Though they are not sure how many people were on Team Marissa, her father Kent Hayward believes it's more than 100.
"We had 170 shirts and they're all gone," said Hayward.
Team Marissa donned white shirts with a drawing of a mermaid on the front and footprints on the back, designed by friend Haley Nannig.
"Nothing was more important to Marissa than family and friends," said Marissa's mother, Sue Hayward. "And she loved running. She would have loved all of this."
Part of the proceeds from the event will go to a scholarship set up by the NK5K committee in Marissa's name.
Aside from the scholarship, a bulk of the proceeds go back to the North Kingstown athletics program.
"This is such a good event because a lot of the money goes back to the schools, which I'm happy to help be a part of," said guidance counselor Donna Sweet.
Sweet is no stranger to running: in 2005, she took up the activity after her daughter was diagnosed with cancer. That year, she ran in the New York City Marathon and raised $10,000 for the Tomorrow Fund.
The race began at North Kingstown High School at 10 a.m. The course spanned up through Annaquatucket Road, down Tower Hill Road, then on to Phillips Street before turning back on to Fairway Drive – 3.1 miles total.
North Kingstown resident Eric Lonergan, 25, finished first overall with a time of 16:00. He was closely followed by fellow NK resident Keven O'Neil, 41, with a time of 16:07. Zachary Kudlak, 28, rounded out the top three with a time of 16:27.
North Kingstown's Mary Najarian, 21, finished first among the ladies with a time of 18:40 followed by Nicole Rattay, 34, of Saunderstown wit 20:24 and Diana Osychny, 24, of Dorchester, MA with 20:43.