Redbud Classic draws athletes to benefit Boys Ranch Town 

The 27th annual Redbud Classic is giving Oklahomans a good reason to dig out the running shoes to work off the pounds. The multifaceted event takes place over two days, featuring 5K and 10K runs and a free kids' run, as well as a 2-mile fun walk and baby-stroller derby.

"Redbud is designed to be a family fitness event," said Suzanne Chew, Redbud public relations coordinator. "It is geared so every fitness level can find an event to participate in."

Saturday will feature three cycling races of 10, 33 and 52 miles. A 5K wheelchair race will be held Sunday.

"The wheelchair event starts prior to the 5 and 10K run," Chew said.

She estimates that it takes around 700 volunteers to run Redbud from the time planning starts in August until after the last event wraps up.

To give volunteers and runners a good reason to give up their time and effort, Redbud partners with a nonprofit agency " this year, Boys Ranch Town in Edmond. According to the Redbud Web site, the organization runs a 145-acre working ranch where boys are taught to work with the animals in hopes of instilling discipline and good work habits for when the youths return home.

To further bolster the runners and raise funds for the nonprofit group, a free pancake breakfast will be offered on Saturday following the cycling events at the Waterford Complex Building. Donations are welcomed.

Redbud will offer Pasta on the Pond on Saturday to prepare for the Sunday runs. The buffet begins at 4:30 p.m. at the Waterford Pond and will be served by Bellini's and Ben E. Keith's, with live entertainment and special activities for children.

Oklahoma's fickle spring weather might dampen some of the side events, but Chew said that runners are hearty stock and the events will go on rain or shine. Redbud Classic's enduring appeal is more than just runners' fanaticism, she said, but Redbud is designed to be an all-inclusive, relaxed event for families.

"We aren't designed to be a super-competitive event. We are designed to promote fitness throughout your family," Chew said. "Charles Martin

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