HYDE PARK – Despite the cold weather, around 500 people gathered Saturday at Cedar Ridge Middle School for the 12th annual Red Ribbon Run. The event, sponsored by the Bear River Health Department, included a 5K run and one-mile walk-run to encourage physical activity and drug prevention. Before the races began, Dr. Jim Davis, BRHD chairman of the Board of Health, told participants of the importance of drug-free exercise, activity and recreation. He said the Red Ribbon Run event is “a great opportunity to educate the community.” The races started and ended on the east side of the school, with volunteers directing traffic and handing out medals as people crossed the finish line. Hyde Park’s Alecia Elwood was participating for her third year, running in the one-mile race Saturday with her two young daughters. “We look forward to it every year,” she said. Cathy Lloyd, substance abuse prevention coordinator for BRHD, said, “The race is one of my favorite events. The idea is to give them [the kids] an alternative to using drugs.” Lloyd said the event is very targeted to families and that some in the valley have been participating for the last 10 years. “It’s a fun family thing to do,” she added. Like Elwood, many residents decided to make the event a family affair. Gordon Jackman and his 7-year-old daughter, Rachel, were first-time racers in the mile while his wife and son were running the 5K. Jackman said he thought the event was “good for the kids” and will be involved again next year. “I’m excited to see youth participating and seeing their parents with them,” said Allena Pierce, a health promotion employee at BRHD. Pierce joked that involvement in the race is a good way for kids to get out of doing Saturday chores. “It was fun. It was cold,” said 13-year-old Bailey from Smithfield. Her mother, Lisa Nielson, came to watch her two daughters take part in the mile race, saying that they were even missing a soccer game in order to hear the prize drawings. Younger sister Jamie, 11, said the race was “awesome” and that her favorite part was finishing. Despite being an event for school-age children and parents, many others in the county took part in the fun. Millville’s Jen Weber and Newton’s Michelle Evans decided to walk the mile together for fun and exercise, with Evans pushing her baby’s stroller. After each person finished the race, they received a ticket for the prize drawings and gathered in the pavilion. There were 138 prizes, many being gift certificates from local businesses like Rock Haus, Anniversary Inn and Walmart. Prizes were given to the male and female winners of the mile and 5K runs, as well as to the first person to register, the largest family to register, the seven youngest participants (all age 4), the oldest participant and the longest distance traveled to attend the event. In addition, Greenville Elementary School and Cedar Ridge Middle School both received $150 checks for generating the largest numbers of participants. October is a time when parents are encouraged to talk with their kids about drugs and the risks involved. Davis said parents should know that their children listen to and see them as a major source of information, and constantly look to them for guidance.
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