ELLSWORTH — Runners and walkers will gather for a good cause Saturday morning when they participate in the Kinsley Ray Memorial 5K in Ellsworth.
A field of approximately 500 people is expected for the race, which is set to be the biggest-ever Down East Family YMCA-organized event. It is being held in memory of Kinsley Ray Archer, who passed away from acute myeloid leukemia at the age of 4 months in December.
DEFY’s Robin Clarke, who is leading those organizing efforts, said the YMCA has been planning the race since early winter in support of Kinsley Ray’s parents, Holly and Brian Archer of Ellsworth. It is taking the place of the Jerry Kaufman Memorial 5K.
“We all wanted to do something as a community [for the Archers] but really weren’t sure what that was going to look like,” Clarke said. “With the Kaufman family’s blessing, the stars all kind of lined up for this to happen.”
A portion of the race proceeds will go to toward the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in Kinsley Ray’s memory. Tiny Tikes Daycare, Big Cat’s Catering and R.F. Jordan & Sons Construction will be donating a total of $4,000 in checks to the organization.
Clarke said dozens in the Ellsworth area community have come forward to ask about sponsorships. Although race sponsors have been limited to Holly Archer’s employer, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, and Brian’s, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, those kind gestures still go a long way.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had this many people come to me to ask to sponsor a race,” Clarke said. “Usually, I have to ask around to get sponsors. It’s been great to see.”
Greg Hawes of Amato’s and G&M Family Market will be preparing food for the 500 expected walkers and runners in the race. The local McDonald’s will be on hand to offer coffee and treats at registration, which is set to begin at 7:30 a.m. at DEFY. Ellsworth High School art students will be offering free face-painting.
At the conclusion of the race, a tree donated by DEFY and engraved bench donated by Freshwater Stone & Brick Work in Orland will be presented in Kinsley Ray’s memory. Those items will be placed in Ellsworth’s Knowlton Park.
“We are completely blown away and overwhelmed by the generosity and support that this entire community has shown us in honor of our sweet Kinsley Ray of Sunshine,” Holly and Brian Archer told The Ellsworth American on Wednesday. “It makes us proud to live in Ellsworth, where people still rally around those in their darkest times to try and lift them up. Without the support of our family, friends and this community, we would not have survived.”
Walkers, who Clarke said will make up the majority of the race field, will start at 8:30 with runners set to follow at 9. Competitors who want to beat the race-day rush to pick up their bibs can get them early all day today, May 2, through 8 p.m. tomorrow, May 3, at DEFY.
Those wishing to pre-register for the cost of $15 have until noon tomorrow to do so. Race-day registration will be available for $20, and family pricing is available at $40 for families of four or more contestants. The first 500 registrants will receive race bumper stickers.
Traffic in the Shore Road area will be detoured Saturday morning to accommodate the race, which is set to go on as planned regardless of weather. State Street traffic will operate as usual.
“We’re hoping that an event like this can offer some type of healing,” Clarke said. “It shows that we’re about helping other people here [in this community]. That’s what it’s really about: being there for each other.”