Runners and walkers will be hitting the streets of Glenside this Saturday to both honor the memory of former Abington Commissioner Mike Gillespie and to help raise money for one of his favorite things — The Glenside Independence Day Parade.
The inaugural “Keep the Parade Running” 5K run and 1-mile walk will help defray the cost of the parade and other Abington Fourth of July events.
Gillespie died in June 2009. He was a former police officer, instrumental in organizing community events, and was co-chair of the Greater Glenside Patriotic Association, which sponsors the parade.
“Originally when Mike died, I really wanted to think of something that he loved,” Carol Gillespie, Mike Gillespie’s wife and Abington Commissioner said. “This parade — he took it over about 23 years ago now — when he retired from the police force. He was always just … active. Anyway, I still can’t talk about it.”
Carol Gillespie got a little choked up talking about her husband.
“He was really good at gathering people. You know why? It drove him nuts,” she said with a laugh.
Carol Gillespie said the 5K is an important fundraiser, as the parade and its subsequent events will likely cost about $45,000.
The 5K will start at North Penn VFW Post 676 on Jenkintown Road and will travel through Carol Gillespie’s neighborhood — down Roslyn and Roberts avenues and such.
Originally, Carol Gillespie said she wanted the 5K to take the parade’s route, but it just wasn’t feasible to have Jenkintown and Easton roads closed on a Saturday morning.
The 5K starts at 8 a.m.; registration takes place from 7 to 7:45 a.m. Cost is $25 per runner. Awards will be presented to the top three overall runners; there will also be age group awards. The first 400 runners to register will score a “Keep the Parade Running” T-shirt.
Carol Gillespie said she will be there … walking. She said jokingly that her daughter is the runner.