Maren Roth on why she started the Jack Roth 5K
Maren Roth, owner of Short North boutique Rowe, launched the first Jack Roth 5K Rock 'n' Run/Walk back in 2006.
Fast forward to 2014 and Roth's annual 5K, which is named for her father, who died in 2004 of lung cancer, has raised more than $700,000, brings in around 18 marketplace vendors and draws hundreds of runners/walkers out to the starting line at Bexley.
"It's just become this amazing day where people come with their families, and they look forward to it every year," Roth says. "It's crazy to me that my dad's name gets used on a weekly basis. It really keeps his memory alive."
Proceeds benefit lung cancer research at the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard Solove Research Center, as well as Camp Netaim, a camp for children with special needs in Israel.
This year's race begins at 9 a.m. on June 8, and you can register for $25 at jackrothfund.com. Day-of registration is $30.
We talked with Roth about why she started the Jack Roth 5K and the fun new activities you'll find at this year's event.
-Taylor Starek, @taylorstarek
On starting the Jack Roth 5K…
I guess I started it because I wanted to do something that would hopefully raise much needed funding for lung cancer research. My dad was a runner. He was healthy and regularly going to the doctor and when he was diagnosed, it had spread so quickly and he died within eight months. It seemed so unfair. So I wanted to shine a little bit of light on lung cancer. No one deserves to get cancer in general, but it's important to know that just because you don't smoke, it doesn't mean you're not susceptible, and it was important we find a way to do that. My dad was a huge runner, and I wanted to do something he loved.
On Camp Netaim…
It was also really important to my dad to be a social advocate. He advocated for special needs kids in Israel, and it was important for him to allow their freedom and to be supported. He was all about trying to help these kids in any way he could, and we wanted to do something to help the cause he was so passionate about. I teamed up with a fundraising friend of my father's, Steve Marcus, and we decided to make both [lung cancer and Camp Netaim] of these missions our mission. We chose the James because they're doing so many unbelievable things with research, and they've been so unbelievable to us. My dad didn't go there-unfortunately, it was too late for him. But my mom was diagnosed with cancer, and she goes there.
We also found out that because of the money that we donated, they are now naming the camp after my dad. It makes me get a little bit teary to think about it. He never did anything for recognition. To have this camp named after him because of all this would really humble him.
On what they've raised over the years…
As of this year, we've raised more than $700,000 over the last eight years. This year alone we're over $90,000.
On making a donation…
We're just a little race that's trying to do whatever we can. We appreciate every donation, no mater how big or small. If you can't make it to the race, go to firstgiving.com.
On what's new this year…
It's just growing. We have 18 vendors this year. We started out with half of that. That, to me, just says something about what the race is starting to do. Everything is purely donation. It's just local businesses that really want to help support us, and we want to support them. There are so many talented people in this city, and it's become another way to learn more about these amazing individuals. We'll have a local chiropractor rolling out runners. J-POPS, these amazing popsicles you can find at the Hills Market, Fusian Sushi and Kittie's Cakes will be there. Lululemon outfits the top male and female finishers. Homage designed the tees again. People stick around and hang out at the marketplace.