Participants in last year’s Mary’s Walk depart from Thornton Academy. This year’s event takes place Sunday in Saco. LIZ GOTTHELF/Journal Tribune

SACO — On Sunday, walkers and runners will converge in Saco to participate in Mary’s Walk and the Kerrymen 5K and the governor will be a part of the event.

Mary’s Walk is a tribute to Mary Kerry Libby who died of Burkitt Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, in 1997 at the age of 44. Family members and those close to Libby began the 2.5 mile noncompetitive walk in 1999 as a way to remember her and support others with cancer.

Mary’s Walk is held in conjunction with the Kerrymen 5K, an early season, out and back, flat run.

This year’s run has been named the 2019 Road Runners Club of America Maine State 5K Championship road race.

The walk and race have raised in its 20-year run more than $3 million for cancer research and programs, said Maine Cancer Foundation Events Manager Julia Bachelder.

Event organizers are anticipating 2,000 participants and hope to raise $250,000, said Bachelder.

Mary’s Walk starts from Linnell Gym at Thornton Academy at 12:15  on Sunday and the 5K run begins at noon by the old Kerrymen Pub at 512 Main Street in Saco.

The former Kerrymen Pub was for many years the site of a post race celebration. The pub,which was operated for many years by the Kerry family, closed last year. Ricetta’s Brick Oven Ristorante has purchased the location and is a sponsor of the event. Ricetta’s is donating the use of its back parking lot for the participant food court and along with other food providers will be among those serving food after the race, said Ricetta’s owner Ron Stephan in an email.

This year’s speakers include Governor Janet Mills, author Jeffrey Wittig and author and Mary’s Walk committee member Ken Janson, said Bachelder.

“Mary’s Walk embodies the best of Maine values, when communities gather together to support our neighbors, our friends, and our loved ones,” said Mills in an email statement. “I am proud to join Mary’s Walk participants this year in recognizing and remembering Mainers we have lost to cancer and in raising awareness and funds to support prevention and treatment efforts across our state.”

For more information on the event, go to www.maryswalk.org.

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be reached at 780-9015 or by email at [email protected].

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