WESTERVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — Hundreds of runners, joggers and walkers spent Sunday morning racing and reflecting at the Field of Heroes 5k Run/Walk in Westerville.

The 9th annual Memorial Day event began at 8 a.m. Sunday as participants gathered at the Westerville Sports Complex and took the flat course around the area before running through the more than 3,000 American Flags to cross the finish line.

Each flag is planted to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

“We allow people to dedicate the flags to a veteran in their family, a mentor, their parent,” said Larry Jenkins with the Field of Heroes, “because we believe there is someone who got you to the place you are and made you the person you are.”

Both race organizers and participants say taking part in something like this is so important.

“It’s part of our civic duty just to honor everyone,” said Brian Komopka, a runner.

“It gives you goose bumps as you run through it,” said Jennifer Bishop, a participant.

Some participants had a personal connection which made the event mean even more.

“My husband lost a group of guys on Memorial Day 15 years ago Monday,” said Amy Gadis.

Organizers say they were excited for the turnout to honor our service members and hope to get back to pre-pandemic crowds for the race in the coming years.