RUSTY WILKINS AND his cousin James Anderson are set for the second annual Rusty Rolls 5K, set to be held April 9 in Topsham.

RUSTY WILKINS AND his cousin James Anderson are set for the second annual Rusty Rolls 5K, set to be held April 9 in Topsham.

TOPSHAM

Rusty Wilkins is at it again.

Rusty, a recent graduate of Mt. Ararat High School, is busy these days organizing the second annual Rusty Rolls 5K Race/Walk.

Rusty, who has cerebral palsy, will be racing in his racing wheelchair with his cousin James Anderson at the helm.

The race will be held on April 7 at 9 a.m. at the Topsham Recreation Foreside Field. Runners/ walkers can register online at www.raceentry.com/races/ rusty-rolls-5k/2018/register, or download a registration form at www.mtasports.com.

The cost is $20 for an individual or $30 for a family or team. Free T-shirts will be given out to the first 150 registrants.

Rusty is organizing the race to fulfill a dream of becoming a professional fundraiser. All proceeds from this race will benefit the American Cancer Society. Rusty and his cousin James were inspired by Team Hoyt, the father/son team that are world famous for their participation in road races and triathlons, and fundraising capabilities.

Four years ago, when James approached Rusty with the idea of racing together, Rusty’s expression filled with excitement. James and Rusty initially raced using a borrowed racing wheelchair. Two year’s ago, Rusty’s schoolmates and friends raised more than $ 7,500 to purchase his own racing wheelchair.

Since then, Rusty and James have run several 5Ks, 10Ks and marathons. Most recently, they competed in the Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington, Virginia, last fall, where they recorded their fastest time (so far).

Last year’s inaugural Rusty Rolls 5K race attracted 142 runners. Rusty wants to increase those numbers and has scheduled a full slate of events to help reach his goals. Mike Crawford will be playing the bagpipes before and during the race. The Astral Pines, a local band, will be performing after the race. Free food and drink will be provided by Rusty’s Market.

In lieu of prizes for top finishers, bib numbers will be picked out of a hat to select more than 25 runners who will receive gifts collectively worth more than $ 500. A Cornhole Tournament is scheduled immediately after the awards ceremony.

Last year’s race was devoted to Rusty Rancourt, the long-time proprietor of the original Rusty’s Market. Rusty was a big sports fan, a well known horseman and a friendly raconteur who welcomed all and discussed everything at his iconic mom and pop store. Unfortunately, Rusty passed away last year after a courageous battle against cancer. Wilkins will continue to run this race in Rusty’s honor.

Wilkins also wants to honor Russell Packett, who passed away earlier this year from cancer. Rancourt and Packett both shared a passion for basketball. Rusty served as Mt. Ararat’s basketball manager for three years and watched Packett referee many games. Russell always had a fist bump for Rusty before and after games.

Russell, a Harpswell resident, was well-known throughout the state. He was active member in the Maine Parks and Recreation Association, serving in many executive positions. He was the primary force behind the start-up and development of the youth travel basketball teams and served terms as Recreation Director for Freeport, Yarmouth, and most recently Cape Elizabeth.

Rusty’s Market once again is sponsoring the race with the Priority Real Estate Group.

According to Dave Frye, manager of Rusty’s Market, “This is the type of event that we are proud to sponsor. It gives us a chance to give back to the community that supports us. It also is a great way to remember the legacy of Rusty Rancourt.”

Androscoggin Bank and the Topsham Recreation Department are co-sponsoring the event.

This story has been updated with the correct date of the event.


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