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Oakdale Lions Preparing For Annual Osborne Run
run Lions
Runners and walkers alike will once again line up for the 30th Annual Don Osborne Memorial Run on Saturday, Feb. 5. Leader File Photo

As the country at large continues to proceed cautiously, the Oakdale Lions Club has continued to forge forward with hosting its community events.

Runners, walkers and fitness enthusiasts alike should be pleased to learn that the Oakdale Lions Club will be hosting the 30th Annual Don Osborne Memorial Run.

The return of this longtime community fun run will be staged on Saturday, Feb. 5 at G Street and South First Avenue, just adjacent to the Oakdale Library. The event will continue to offer both one-mile and 5k distances and is open to all ages and fitness levels. Pre-registration is $20 for adults and $10 for children ages nine to 18, children under nine race for free. Pre-registration by mail ends this Saturday, Jan. 22. Registration forms may also be dropped off at the Oakdale Leader office, 122 South Third Ave., until Wednesday, Jan. 26.

Registration forms may be picked up at the Oakdale Library, Oakdale Chamber of Commerce and the Oakdale Visitors Center, as well as at Registration fee includes one or both races, as well as a commemorative T-shirt. Event organizer Alan Graham shared that, due to tight deadlines on shirt ordering, sizes for registered runners after Jan. 10th cannot be guaranteed.

Participants may also register the day of the event for $25 a runner. The one-mile race will begin at 9 a.m. sharp, with the 5k starting shortly thereafter. Graham also shared the use of masks are not required but rather up to the participant’s discretion.

“It’s outside,” Graham shared of the event, adding that it is difficult for some to run with a mask covering their face.

Graham said with so much being shut down and canceled over the past two years, registration numbers for this year’s race to date are significantly down. A fact he hopes to see improve over the next few weeks, as the event is a profitable fundraiser for the Oakdale Lions and all their projects

“You know, it has turned into a good fundraiser for us,” Graham stated. “The library doesn’t need all the money any longer. We give them $500 for the Friends of the Library. It’s also all the other things that we do.”

All the other “things,” which benefit include: free eye exams for Oakdale students grades K-12; the flag project, which lines the street of Oakdale on 12 holidays throughout the year; Scholarship opportunities for OHS students, as well as FFA members; Spirit of Oakdale Thanksgiving Dinner; Children’s Christmas Shopping Spree; sponsor of local Boy Scout Troops, among a number of other things.

“It’s fun for us,” he said of the club, dedicated to hosting it every year. “It generates around $8,000.”

Graham additionally noted as the primary event planner, he works diligently at keeping the costs down to help maintain a nice takeaway for all of the service clubs projects.

“I miss a lot of kids. I want the kids to come,” Graham shared of the initial low numbers and his hope for the event.

“Actually, every one of those kids that comes is going to get a medal, because it’s divided out into so many classes,” he continued, half-jokingly, of the top three medal positions.

With 40 people pre-registered, Graham shared his passion and hope for the event, now in its 30th year, noting a total of 170 shirts have been ordered yet he’d be happy with an attendance of 100-plus.

“It’s too bad more people don’t know about the run as long as it’s been around,” he said. “You’d think more people would talk about it. We host it rain or shine and now the streets of the route are all repaved.”

Recognizing areas where they might improve to make registration easier for participants, Graham shared one Lion has been busy promoting the event on Social Media.

“Just getting more young kids,” he said of his biggest hope. “That’s what I just don’t know how to connect with. Just come on down and bring the kids with you. I just love to see as many kids come as possible.”

It also is truly a run that welcomes everyone, he added.

“We have a little group of older women that have to be in their 80’s,” he explained of all fitness levels and abilities. “I think we even have one who is 90 that is going to come walk. She’ll win first place.

“You know, if we have 50 or 60 people registered that day it’d be great,” Graham concluded.