The first annual Forest Priestley Memorial 5-Kilometer Race will be Saturday, Oct. 11 at 8:30 a.m. at Camden Hills Regional High School. The event will be part of the school's homecoming weekend on the campus.

Runners and walkers can participate in the competitive and friendly event, said Johanna Stinson, Priestley's mom. The homecoming race always has attracted a wide field of runners from the community, she said.

This year promises to draw a large crowd to honor the memory of Priestley, a CHRHS student and athlete who passed away in June.

Stinson said Priestley "discovered a deep love of running cross country on the Camden Hills team. Feeling included by teammates who supported him both on and off the trails, he was imbued with the desire to improve himself and to help his team place well at meets, always with a smile. Through this team spirit and unity, which ran far deeper than the individuals involved, he acquired an inner strength to approach life with great dignity, grace and a calm awareness of self."

This year, in honor of her son, Stinson has volunteered to be the cross-country team's assistant coach.

A new scholarship fund in memory of Priestley will be established through donations and proceeds from the race. This scholarship will be awarded to a graduating CHRHS student "who shows great perseverance, never gives up, and is graduating in spite of obstacles. This student approaches life with kindness, courage, has a love of music, and has been a member of the cross-country team," Stinson said.

Proceeds from the race entries will benefit a new trail development fund. Volunteers from the Georges River Land Trust, and other conservation groups, staff, volunteers, National Honor Society students and student-athletes competing on the high school’s cross-country team, are upgrading and expanding the trail network at the high school so that it is accessible and better suited to training and competition, Stinson said.

Registration for the benefit event is $20. Participants may register in advance on the Active.com and RoadID websites or on race day starting at 7 a.m.

Packet pick-up will begin at 7 p.m. for preregisterd participants. Additional information may be found on the Forest Priestley Memorial 5K Facebook event. The race is a 5K or 3.1 miles. The race will be held on the trails at CHRHS. Entrants are invited to join the homecoming festivities, which include a free barbecue. Dogs are not allowed on the school property.

Racers and non-racers who wish to contribute to the scholarship fund may do so by sending a check made out to CHRHS with "Forest Priestley Memorial Scholarship Fund" written in the memo line, to CHRHS, 25 Keelson Dr., Rockport, Maine 04856.

For more race information, call Helen Bonzi, Windjammer cross-country head coach, at 691-606 or email her at hbonzi@mac.com. For contributions in memory of Priestley, call Stinson at 691-5191 or email her at johannalmt@gmail.com.