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By J. Patrick O’Leary

The start of the Wheat Ridge Farmers 5000 5k race will take place at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 17, at Wheat Ridge High School, 9505 W. 32nd Ave. The classic road race raises over $20,000 each year for the school while promoting physical fitness and community spirit.

The Farmers 5000 features a flat, fast course on neighborhood streets near the school. It typically attracts about 500 runners, and an equal number of volunteers, family members and spectators. The current course record and fastest-ever Farmers 5000 time is 15:19, set by Dewi Griffiths in 2013.

The race includes an elementary school challenge to promote not only physical fitness in our youth, but to also promote a sense of community within all of Wheat Ridge.

This year the businesses of Wheat Ridge can showcase their fitness and be part of a competition to be named the “Fittest on the Farm.” The Wheat Ridge business with the most employees registered and competing on race day will be awarded a Gold Level Sponsorship for the 2018 race, a $1,500 value. Fee is $25 per business.

The cost for the run/walk is $35, with discounts for alumni ($33), and youth and Jeffco staff ($25). Fee for the Elementary School Challenge is $10, and the Fun Run, $5 (no t-shirt).

There is a $100 cash prize for the first-place overall male and female, and gift certificates from Runners Roost Lakewood for first and second runners-up. The top three male and female runners in all categories will receive a gift certificate from Apple Ridge Café; categories are 8 and under, 9 through 12, 13 through 15, every five years thereafter, and 80 and over. All entrants are eligible for prize drawings at the race finish, courtesy of area businesses (but must be present to win).

  Early off-site registration is available Sept. 1 through 16 (noon) at the Wheat Ridge Recreation Center, 4005 Kipling, or Runners Roost Lakewood, 7978 W. Alameda.

Participants can also register online through midnight, Sept. 15; mail-in registration must be postmarked by Sept. 8. All mail-in registrations and online registrations made before 2 p.m. on Sept. 12 may be picked up at Wheat Ridge High School on the following dates: Wednesday through Friday, Sept. 13 through 15, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 16, 9 a.m. to noon; and race day. Sept. 17, 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.

The community event is organized and carried out by volunteers, who perform planning and coordination as well as race-day logistics and operations. Volunteer information and sign up can be done online.

Race participants are encouraged to park in the student lot on the north side of Wheat Ridge High School, at 35th and Holland Street; access is off of 38th Avenue, as 32nd Avenue will be closed to traffic. 

Visit www Farmers5000.org.