Sam Naser

Run for a cause

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There was once a time when marathons were comprised of an elite roster of endurance runners, and it was all about the finishing time. These days, it’s more about being fit, feeling empowered and raising money for a worthy cause. So whether you’re a pro training for a triathlon or just a jolly jogger, be sure to enter into at least one of Phoenix’s many upcoming running events. You’ll be doing something important to give back to your community, by raising money for anything from nonprofits that give scholarships to kids in need, to those helping injured veterans and their families, to organizations that help kids with life-threatening illnesses and ones that raise awareness of police who’ve died in the line of duty.

Your participation won’t only give the community a gift, but you’ll give yourself the gift of health as well. Next to quitting smoking, regular physical activity is the single best thing you can do for your body. It lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis and colon cancer. On top of that, you’ll get the chance to experience the sheer joy and exhilaration of running. If you don’t believe it, take any 6-year-old kid to a park, sit back and watch joyfulness in action. Before you show up at one of these runs, be sure to double-check the website for the exact registration deadlines for each course.

Choose your race

12K’s of Christmas
When: Saturday, December 11, 2010 @ 10 a.m.
Where: Freestone District Park at 1045 E. Juniper Road, Gilbert
Why: Celebrate this Christmas amongst a sea of running Santas and carolers on this 6-or-12 kilometer run/walk. Cost of participation ranges from $25 to 35, depending on when you register.  There’s also a 1.2-kilometer Santa sled race.  Sleds provided! Have some fun and dress up the stroller, a wagon or the pets. Proceeds go to benefit Maricopa County Animal Care and Control.
Website: www.12krun.com

7th Annual Run to Remember
When: Sunday, January 9, 2011 @ 8:30 a.m.
Where: Tumbleweed Park at 745 E. Germann Road, Chandler
Why: This event to honor fallen officers features both a 1-mile as well as a 5-kilometer run/walk. Cost of participation for either run/walk is $20. All proceeds go to benefit the families of officers’ families to be honored at the National Police Week in May 2011, as well as the Arizona Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors for their ongoing seminars that help “rebuild shattered lives.”
Website: www.arizonacops.org

7th Annual Walk ‘n Roll Dog Walk
When: Saturday, January 29, 2011 @ 9 a.m.
Where: Tempe Town Lake, at S. Rural Road & E. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe
Why: This 5-kilometer walk and wheelchair roll welcomes all friendly dogs, though they’re not required. Cost of participation in the event is $25 per person, and kids under six are free. All proceeds go to Power Paws Assistance Dogs, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide assistance dogs to those with disabilities.
Website: www.walknrolldogwalk.org

Phoenix Children’s Hospital KiDS ROCK Arizona
When: Saturday, February 19, 2011 @ 8:30 a.m.
Where: Arizona State University, at Packard Drive and Sixth Street, Tempe
Why: This 1-mile fun run is for children in grades K-6. It’s a non-competitive, non-timed event and is all about having fun. Cost of participation ranges between $25 and $30, depending on when you registered. All participants receive an official race number, t-shirt, goodie bag, colorful medal and post-race refreshments. All other proceeds go to benefit the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Website: http://arizona.competitor.com/kidsrock

7th Annual Lighthouse City YMCA 5k Walk/Run
When: Sunday, February 20, 2011 @ 8:30 a.m.
Where: Lighthouse City YMCA, at 2900 N. Columbus Boulevard, Tucson
Why: This event includes a 5-kilometer scenic run-walk that traverses through the Rillito River, as well as a 2-mile, non-timed fun walk. Both events are open to runners of all ages and skill levels. All proceeds from the event go to benefit the YMCA’s Strong Kids campaign, which funds scholarships for children who wouldn’t be able to afford the YMCA’s programs otherwise. Cost of participation ranges from $20 to $25.
Website: www.tucsonymca.org

2011 Phoenix Start! Heart Walk
When: Saturday, February 26, 2011 @ 9 a.m.
Where: Tempe Beach Park, at 620 N. Mill Avenue, Tempe
Why: This event celebrates those who’ve made lifestyle changes and encourages many more to take the pledge to live healthier lifestyles while raising money to fund lifesaving research and initiatives. There is no cost to participate, but runners are encouraged to start or join a running team, recruit walkers and help collect donations from friends and family.
Website: www.startheartwalk.org

Run for Ryan House at DC Ranch, Half-Marathon and 5k Run
When: Saturday, March 5, 2011 @ 7 a.m.
Where: Market Street at DC Ranch, 20825 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale, AZ
Why: A This event includes a half-marathon course and one-mile fun run that winds through the golf courses, beautiful desert landscape and stunning vistas of the DC Ranch community.
Cost of participation ranges from $15 to $60, depending on the course and date you registered. Proceeds from the event will benefit Ryan House, a nonprofit organization that offers essential care in a home-like setting to children with life-threatening conditions and their families.
Website: www.ryanhouse.org or www.raceplaceevents.com.

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