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Annual Marshall race raises awareness about boosting children's health

Parents who want to protect their children from habits that lead to poor health have been getting some help.

The annual Oaklawn Hospitality Classic – scheduled Saturday, May 20, in Marshall – is part of a series of events raising awareness among the region’s young people about the importance of good health.

“One of the best things we can do for our children is encourage them to be more active and engage with other people in healthy, fun activities,” said Oaklawn Executive Director of Development and Community/Legislative Affairs Richard Lindsey.

Lindsey, who is coordinating this year’s 100 Lap Club program on Oaklawn’s behalf, said each child who completes the goal in his or her age group in the 100 Lap Club will receive a T-shirt and free entry into the one-mile Fun Run during the Hospitality Classic. Students also may choose to run during other events at the $15 student rate.

“The Hospitality Classic is a great example of the kind of activity that gets people doing something good for themselves, whether they’re younger or older,” Lindsey said.

Groups of would-be runners and walkers already are gathering in preparation for the Hospitality Classic, though the free “Five Weeks to a 5k” program administered through the Oaklawn Fitness Center, based at the Oaklawn Life Improvement Center.

Each year, the event draws about 1,000 people and features a 10K race, a 5K race, a noncompetitive May Walk and a one-mile Fun Run. The courses, certified by USA Track & Field, start in downtown Marshall and follow city streets through the historic residential district, out into the country and back to the staging area with a fast downhill finish at the Honolulu House and Fountain Circle.

“This is a long-standing tradition in our community,” Lindsey said. “Eaton Corp. has partnered with Oaklawn to increase participation and make the event better each year.”

For the third year, a free health fair at the Fountain Circle will be open to the public throughout the morning of the annual event.

Those who wish more information may do so online at oaklawnhospital.org/run. Additional information about the event is available from Oaklawn’s Development Department at (269) 789-3942.