The official title of the race is the Michael DeRobertis Memorial Couples Classic. The course starts and ends at the River Road Parks and Recreation District, where DeRobertis was the Director of Youth Programs for more than 25 years.
DeRobertis started the race 37 years ago, and when he passed away from brain cancer in 2008, his best friend Dale Weigandt stepped up as race director.
“He fought a tremendous fight,” says Weigandt. “He was one of the most wonderful individuals I’ve ever met. We were best friends. So yeah, that’s hard. But this thing, it’s kind of cool that we were able to keep this alive. I think everybody feels the same way.”
DeRobertis was also a local middle and high school cross country coach. Weigandt says most of Saturday’s runners have been participating in the Couples Classic for many years.