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Tombstone 5K Routes Runners Through Mount Greenwood Cemetery

By Howard Ludwig | October 14, 2013 6:30am
 The Tombstone 5K routes runners through the tree-lined paths of Mount Greenwood Cemetery.
Tombstone 5K
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MOUNT GREENWOOD — Being chased through a cemetery by a family dressed as the KISS Army may sound like a nightmare.

But it was a reality for some runners in last year's Tombstone 5K, which returns to Mount Greenwood Cemetery at 2900 W. 111th St. on Oct. 19.

The inaugural event drew 419 people, but a larger crowd is expected this year, according to race organizer Jim Pacente, who owns Running Excels at 10328 S. Western Ave.

The Tombstone 5K was the first event put together by the Beverly-based running store, which he co-owns with his wife, Beverly.

"This community has been so generous. And hopefully the race highlights the community a little bit," Pacente said.

Runners, walkers and spectators are encouraged to attend the event in costume. Last year, about a third of the crowd dressed for Halloween. Top prize went to a family who ran the race made up as members of the rock band KISS. Other runners dressed as characters including Where's Waldo and Nacho Libre, and someone else dressed to resemble a road-kill animal.

Paula Everett, whose family has owned Mount Greenwood Cemetery for more than 50 years, said she hasn't received any negative feedback from hosting the race.

"A cemetery is like an open-air museum really," said Everett, whose cemetery has plots dating to 1834.

Residents often exercise in the 80-acre Mount Greenwood Cemetery as well as the adjacent Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery. Thus, hosting the 5K seemed like a natural fit, she said.

"It's all for charity, anyhow," Everett said.

The races kicks off at 9 a.m. It costs $30 for runners, $25 for untimed walkers and $75 for a family of three. Runners can sign up online or at the store at 10328 S. Western Ave.

The Maeve McNicholas Memorial Foundation and the Heart Connection Bereavement Program at Little Company of Mary Hospital will share a portion of the proceeds from the race.

Besides the Tombstone 5K, Running Excels also coordinates the Emerald Isle Mile — a one-mile race that kicks off the South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade.

'We felt it [Running Excels] was a perfect fit for the community. Since day one, the community has taken us in and said we are glad you are here," he said.