Thousands turn out for 5K to honor Ritzer

Central Park in Andover was awash in pink, Colleen Ritzer’s favorite color, when runners and walkers turned out to honor the legacy of the popular Danvers High School math teacher. Central Park in Andover was awash in pink, Colleen Ritzer’s favorite color, when runners and walkers turned out to honor the legacy of the popular Danvers High School math teacher.

Nearly 4,000 runners and walkers turned out in Andover on May 4 for a 5K run/walk honoring Colleen Ritzer.

Ritzer, 24, a math teacher at Danvers High School, was slain last October at the school. One of her students is on trial in the slaying. The event Sunday in Ritzer’s hometown of Andover included hundreds of participants from Danvers who joined the Step Up for Colleen event, which raised money for a scholarship fund for future educators.

Colleen Ritzer’s parents Tom and Peggie and siblings Dan and Laura thanked the crowd assembled for the Step Up for Colleen event which raised money to benefit a scholarship fund. Colleen Ritzer’s parents Tom and Peggie and siblings Dan and Laura thanked the crowd assembled for the Step Up for Colleen event which raised money to benefit a scholarship fund.

Assumption College, where Ritzer studied as an undergraduate, also had a number of participants in the 5K.

Ritzer’s mother, Peggie, and siblings Dan and Laura stood alongside her father, Tom, as he read a message of thanks to the crowd, many of whom were clad mostly in pink, Colleen’s favorite color.

“She would have loved this,” Tom Ritzer said of the overwhelming community spirit on display in Andover’s Central Park, the hub for the road race.

The Ritzer family also released a video on the morning of the race thanking all those who have comforted the family and supported Colleen’s legacy via the scholarship.

Two a cappella groups from Danvers High School performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the lead runners queued up at the starting line.

As the runners and walkers took off, they created a river of pink along the roadways in downtown Andover that served as the 5K course.

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