For over 11 years, the Bay Head 5k Memory Run has been one of the most popular fundraising events at the Jersey Shore.

Bay Head 5k (Facebook)

The run was started in memory of Kate Shea, who lost a bout with leukemia in 1998 when she was 25-years-old.

Her brother, Ed Shea, who serves as Race Director, said the run has continued to grow and now means so much to so many annual participants.

“It’s really taken on a life of its own,” he said. “We’ve had so many people come to us, and now this is their race.”

Despite the popularity, Shea said that organizers made the decision to cap the amount of runners and not make it too big since they feel the current size fits in perfectly with the quaint, beachfront atmosphere of Bay Head.

“It’s a really neat, special boutique run. We don’t do more than a thousand runners,” he explained.

All of the money raised through the Bay Head 5k goes directly to the Kate Shea Foundation, which raises money and awareness for cancer and leukemia.

“After this run, we’ll have donated a quarter-of-a-million dollars, all to cancer research and education,” Shea said.

In addition to honoring Kate’s memory and supporting such a worthy cause, the run also serves as a way to unite friends, family, residents and visitors in Bay Head, which is still recovering in many ways from Superstorm Sandy.

The 12th Annual Bay Head 5k takes place Saturday, May 16. Registration gets underway at the Bay Head Firehouse, beginning at 6:30 a.m. The race starts at 8:30 a.m.

Following the run, an after-party will be held at Martell’s Tiki Bar in Point Pleasant Beach.

“I can’t wait for the day when the Kate Shea Foundation changes its mission because cancer and leukemia have been cured,” Shea said.

Find out more about this great annual event and the wonderful work of the Kate Shea Foundation by visiting the Bay Head 5k website and Facebook page.