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Local races benefit area charities

Norman Transcript - 3/8/2017

March 08--NORMAN -- Spring is in the air and it's time to dust off the running or walking shoes and get fit for a cause.

Norman is host to a number of events that support great causes while also serving as community gatherings and a way to start or restart your 2017 fitness program.

Kick it off on Saturday with the O'Connell's St. Patrick's Day 8K Run and Walk to support Special Olympics.

Don't want to run or walk five miles? The One Mile Fun Run starts at 8 a.m., followed at 8:30 by the Special Olympics Exhibition Run. The gun for the St. Patrick's Day 8K Run will go off at 8:45 a.m., with awards ceremony and post-race celebration immediately following.

"We started it 18 years ago at the old store," O'Connell's owner Jeff Stewart said. "I think we took a two-year break when we moved locations."

When the races started at the new location, organizers joined with Special Olympics.

"I think the nicest thing about our course is you go in four directions equally, so you'll only go against the wind for one-fourth of the way," Stewart said. "And it's all flat, which is great for those that want to check their times. An 8K is a real good preparation for other races like half-marathons and marathons."

The O'Connell's St. Patrick's Day 8K Run is a family friendly event. For more information, call Meg Corn at 514-1155 or visit sook.org/norman8k.html.

"This race features a free spaghetti dinner on Friday night when you pick up your packet," Stewart said. "And it's got a hamburger dinner afterward for participants. It's a lot of fun. We get a lot of people in on Friday night."

OK Runner owner Gus Thompson said the race route is scenic and flat and could be the best 8K in the state.

"There's not that many 8Ks in Oklahoma," Thompson said.

--Ludown 5K and 10K: The annual Ludown 5K and 10K races are put on as a community fundraiser by the Norman Board of Realtors. The Ludown is March 25.

"This is the second year for the 10K," race organizer Summer Arthur said. "We wanted to open it up to more serious runners."

A cash prize will help bring in more runners.

"They used to do a gift basket, and last year, Great Plains National Bank started sponsoring a cash prize," Arthur said. "This is also the second year for the new course that starts at Truman Primary."

The new course is more private, she said.

"It's in a neighborhood and it's a fully sanctioned course," she said.

All proceeds from the Ludown will go to several favorite community organizations this year, including Among Friends Activity Center, Crossroads Youth and Family Services, Earth Rebirth, Loveworks Leadership and the Women's Resource Center.

Registration opens for the Ludown at 7:30 a.m., with the One Mile Fun Run starting at 8 a.m., followed by a choice of 5K or 10K runs at 8:30 a.m.

Pets and strollers are welcome, and there will be a $250 cash prize for both male and female winners in the 5K and 10 K. Medals will be awarded for the top three age group finishers.

Ludown races will start and finish this year at Truman Primary Elementary, 601 Meadow Ridge Road. Learn more at ludown.com or sign up online through Sign Me Up Sports.

--Run to Rember and Mayfair 5K: In April, many Norman runners will participate in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, A Run To Remember, slated for April 30.

Next up in Norman, the Mayfair 5K is returning to Andrews Park at 8:30 a.m.May 6. Run or walk, and make your own trail mix afterward. Mayfair 5K T-shirts are favorites made of soft fabric with artsy designs that change each year.

The Mayfair 5K benefits Assistance League Norman programs like Operation School Bell and others. Register online by visiting signmeup.com/118700.

Joy Hampton

366-3544

jhampton@normantranscript.com

Follow me @joyinvestigates

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(c)2017 The Norman Transcript (Norman, Okla.)

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