By Paul Burton

WESTMINSTER (CBS) – They came bundled up and ready to run, braving the frigid temperatures all to honor the memory of a woman whose life impacted everyone she met.

“I think she loved people too. And we wanted to do something special to honor her as much as possible,” organizer Jessica Popik said.

On Saturday more than 300 people took part in the Spring Into Action 5k Run in memory of Vanessa Marcotte, the young jogger found brutally murdered last year in the woods of Princeton.

“What’s going through my mind is that the family of Vanessa Marcotte who had a horrible tragedy and I hope this brings awareness,” runner Sean Flanagan said.

vanessa Road Race Honors Memory Of Slain Princeton Jogger Vanessa Marcotte

Vanessa Marcotte. (Facebook photo)

The run took place in Westminster. Runners did their best to stay warm by keeping Vanessa on their minds.

“It changed everybody’s life. I think everyone was touched by Vanessa’s story,” one runner said.

Friends say Vanessa had two passions in life, jogging and mentoring, which is why all the funds raised tonight will go to an enrichment program called Tutoring Plus in Cambridge, helping kids excel in academics.

“It’s a great turnout, even on this very cold day. Just to know Vanessa’s love of running and spirit of service continue to live on in so many lives that she touched,” Kathryn Fenneman of Tutoring Plus said.

While her horrific death remains unsolved her spirit lives on through these runners and those who knew her best.

“I think it’s everybody coming together to keep alive a memory of a person who was so beautiful,” Popik said.


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