Huffin' And Puffin' Time

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Break out the running shoes, fire up your favorite tunes in the iPod Nano and jump start your training for an inaugural event that's sure to challenge all who enter.

The occasion is the Huffin' & Puffin' in the Pines 8-Mile, 5-Mile and 1-Mile runs that will be held July 12 in Rumsey Park.

The Safeway Foundation and the Payson Parks and Recreation Department are sponsoring the first-ever runs.

In addition to the running events, organizers are in the process of setting up music venues, food booths, a family fun zone and spectator viewing locations.

In the family fun zone will be a slip and slide, bounce house, snow cones and cotton candy.

Safeway Fund-raising Coordinator Lynne ODonnell anticipates the runs will "be a major community event for runners and spectators alike."

Huffin' & Puffin' is the work of ODonnell who says, "I am a runner myself and I want to promote a healthy lifestyle and fitness through events for the community."

The new run, she added, seems to be the ideal way to attain her goals and support Safeway Fund-raising at the same time.

All proceeds from the upcoming runs will benefit foundation charities which include Easter Seals, Special Olympics, Prostrate Cancer Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association, City of Hope and Cancer Research Center.

ODonnell is encouraging participants to seek run sponsors willing to make donations to the Safeway Foundation.

"You can collect donations on-line when you create your own fund-raising page," she said.

That page can be found at: www.active.com/donate/makingadifference.

"You can also collect and turn in sponsor money on race day," she said.

Prizes will be awarded to the top three fund-raisers. For those who pre-register before June 19, the entry fees are $30 for the 8-mile run, $20 for the 5-miler and $10 for the 1-mile fun run.

After the deadline, registration fees increase.

The fees include a race T-shirt, goodie bag, post-race breakfast and entry into a door prize raffle.

Also, there will be a pre-race pasta dinner served from 4 to 7 p.m. July 11 for $5. Race awards will be presented to the first five male and female finishers in each of the events.

As for the courses, ODonnell says the 8-mile run "winds through tree-lined neighborhood roads, up the dreaded Airport Road "Summit" where a special aid station surprise awaits."

The course continues around the western perimeter of town and along Main Street before concluding at the original starting line in Rumsey Park.

The 5-mile course, ODonnell said, has "some gentle rolling hills where runners will enjoy views of the Mazatzal Mountains" before returning to Rumsey Park.

The 1-mile course is tree-lined and flat.

Aid and water stations will be positioned on both the 5- and 8-mile courses.

The courses can be previewed at www.mapmyrun.com.

ODonnell is inviting even those who can't or don't enjoy running to join in on the festivities.

"Volunteers and sponsors are needed," she said.

For more information, call ODonnell at (928) 472-4661 or e-mail lynodonne@netzero.com.

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