As a park ranger at C&O Canal National Historical Park, Margaret Anderson left her mark.
“When she said she was going to do something, she did it,” said C&O Canal Park Ranger Leigh Zahm, Anderson’s former colleague. “She’s someone I always would have backed up. She’s someone I’ll always remember.”
Anderson, who worked at the C&O Canal from 2004-08, was shot and killed in the line of duty on Jan. 1 this year in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state. She was 34.
Zahm and his colleagues are ensuring that her life won’t soon be forgotten.
The first Margaret Anderson Memorial 5K will be held Sept. 8 on Anderson’s old stomping grounds — the towpath at the C&O Canal. The 3.1-mile run/walk will start at Antietam Creek Campground and finish at Ferry Hill Plantation in Sharpsburg.
All proceeds from the event will be donated to Anderson’s family for the care of her two young daughters.
“We wanted to do something to honor her and help her family out,” Zahm said. “The area that we picked is a section of the towpath that Margaret worked a lot, so there are some special memories.”
Parking, registration and packet pickup on the day of the event will be held at Ferry Hill Plantation from 7 to 8:30 a.m. Participants will be shuttled to Antietam Creek Campground, where the run/walk will begin at 9.
Post-race festivities at Ferry Hill will include music by the Speakeasy Boys, who will perform from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m.
“There’s been a lot of support from the community for this thing,” said race director Tom Shantz. “Everything from this race has been donated, so every penny is going to the family.”
The preregistration fee is $20. Registering on the day of the event will cost $25. The first 300 registrants will receive T-shirts.
“I’d like to have at least 300,” Shantz said. “We have a permit for 500, and (Zahm) thinks we’ll hit that. I hope he’s right. ... We’re really encouraging walkers to participate, as well as runners. There will be two aid stations on the course.”
Zahm said those who knew Anderson are lining up to help.
“Even people far away who don’t plan on running are signing up as a way to support the event,” he said.
“Everything they say about her is so true. She was a wonderful person,” he added. “On top of being very competent and very skilled on the job, she was tremendous in everything she was involved with. We’ll never forget her. You don’t ever forget her.”
For information or to register, go to www.CanalTrust.org/MargaretAndersonMemorial5K or contact Shantz at 304-676-3257.