Family and friends of Vanessa Marcotte honored her life Saturday with a second annual 5K Walk/Run.
More than 1,000 runners, walkers and community members gathered at Wachusett Mountain in Princeton, Massachusetts to participate in the 10 a.m. event, which had seen tremendous success in its inaugural year.
"The majority of people here will have some sort of special connection or relationship with Vanessa and they want to celebrate her life because unfortunately it was cut too soon," Marcotte's cousin, Steve Vittorioso, said.
Marcotte, a Boston University graduate and former Google employee, would have turned 29 this weekend. She was murdered two years ago while jogging near her mom's home on Brooks Station Road in Princeton.
Marcotte's senseless death in August 2016 fueled a foundation bearing her name, which uses events like Saturday's 5K to fight back, aiming to make sure what happened to Marcotte doesn't happen to other women.
The Vanessa T Marcotte Foundation was co-founded in the months following Marcotte's death by her cousin, Caroline Tocci, and her best friend, Ashley McNiff. The foundation strives to empower women to live boldly and fearlessly.
"I'm very overwhelmed really with positivity and how much the foundation has grown, and we've really honored Vanessa's legacy," Tocci said.
"When we put these events together, we really try and figure out what would Vanessa like. It's not just a fundraiser. It has a lot of touches that are meant to kind of remind us of Vanessa and that's really helped me move forward," McNiff said.
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Saturday's race kicked off at 10 a.m., featured a revised, flatter 3.1-mile course, and raised $75,000 for the foundation.
The family continues to wait for justice. While Angelo Colon Ortiz has been indicted for Marcotte's murder, they are still awaiting his trial.