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Young sneaker brigade ready for morning run at Albi

Sat., April 26, 2008

An 8:30 a.m. starting gun will spark the first of 10 waves of young runners who’ll pack Joe Albi Stadium today for the 23rd America’s Kids Run in Spokane.

Spokane resident Mike Erwert, event director and founder, said about 2,800 youngsters, ages 5 through 12, are pre-registered for the race. Early morning sign up will also be offered, he said. Same day registrants should arrive an hour before race time.

This “spring passage” for area kids is a powerful antidote to childhood obesity and a healthy substitute for dwindling PE classes, Erwert said.

Besides that, it’s full-tilt excitement during which all the young runners feel like standouts. Some of the kids will be second-generation participants, he said.

“All the focus is on the kids. It’s a celebration for them. And their parents will be in the stands” cheering them on, Erwert added.

Security will surround the field in the form of colorful motorcyclists. These volunteer riders may look grizzled and tough, but they’re big softies who’ve become vocal race fans, Erwert said.

Staggered start times will prevent bottlenecks on the course, which for 5- and 6-year-olds is a half-mile. Meanwhile, 7- and 8-year-olds go a mile and 9- to 12-year-olds run two miles.

On May 17, an annual companion race will mobilize kids on U.S. military bases worldwide.



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