Photo provided


Photo provided

RENSSELAER — Friends of the late Jeff Goad, who passed away in December 2018, have organized a memorial 5K run they hope will become an annual event.

The inaugural run will take place on what would have been Goad’s 41st birthday — July 20 — at 8 a.m. near the Rensselaer Central High School building.

The cost is $30 to register on the event’s Facebook page. People can also register on the day of the run. This year’s event will raise funds for the school’s building trades department.

The race route will leave the high school building grounds and go around town and pass by Goad’s house, before returning to the high school.

Joe Gudeman, who organized the event along with Natalie Ames and Shyla Brown, said a 5K run was a fitting tribute for Goad.

“He was on an epic weight-loss journey,” Gudeman said. “He had started doing 5K runs there toward the end of his life. And that was why we decided we were going to do a 5K run in his honor.”

The three conducted a meeting at Gudeman’s house earlier this year and first announced their plans around Jan. 6. Sports fans will note this as the day the Chicago Bears lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the playoffs, after Bears kicker Cody Parkey’s nail-biting field goal ended with an infamous “double-doink.”

And Gudeman noted, with some humor, that it seemed like the appropriate day to announce a tribute to Goad, given what he knew about Goad’s football preferences.

“He hated kickers,” Gudeman said. “He really believed that offensive linemen won football games. He was one in college and in high school.”

Gudeman said the high school’s building trades department was picked as a fundraising subject this year, since it has recently lost some state funding. It also bears a connection to Goad himself since it is run by his uncle, Mike Goad.

“We’re going to bounce around who we give the money to each year,” Gudeman said.

Monetary donations and sponsorships from local individuals and businesses are encouraged. Anyone seeking more information on the event should contact Gudeman at 219-863-2041; Ames at nataliesmames@yahoo.com; or Brown at shylahesson@yahoo.com.

“We would like to thank the community for all the outreach they’ve even done so far,” Gudeman said. “Rensselaer’s the type of community that really wraps their arms around something like this, and that’s a blessing.”