Every year, around this time, Suzanne Thomas looks to a race for memories and some cheer.
On Saturday, runners will take their marks for the annual Run for Ret, a 5K race and Cross-fit event that honors the memory of former Hilton Head Prep athlete Ret Thomas. Thomas' son, then 15, died in 2000 from Ewing's Sarcoma. Up to that point, he was a popular football and basketball player for the Dolphins, who still to this day keep a memorial locker in his name.
"It's a wonderful fundraiser," Thomas said.
And it's not just a race.
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Participants, family and friends will be treated to exercise, music, balloons and plenty of fun at the event, which begins in front of the HHP Fieldhouse at the Sea Pines Forest Preserve. Though the race remembers someone lost too soon, and indeed many of those who have succumbed to cancer, Thomas emphasizes that the day is about positivity.
"It's a really upbeat event," Thomas said. "I think people believe in our cause."
Many area high school runners have competed in the race, which winds its way through the Forest Preserve, each year.
In the Cross-fit event, participants will face an extra challenge, stopping for push-ups, deadlifts and more.
Proceeds go to the RET Pediatric Cancer Foundation.
Athletes can register for the event on Saturday at the Fieldhouse. The 5K begins at 8 a.m.