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Fastest 5K in Utah to take place near Sugar House

Thursday, February 17, 20111205 views

Just down the road from Sugar House, expect to see close to 1,000 people running through the streets on Saturday, March 26, in the third annual Running of the Leopards 5K. Sponsored by the PTA of East High School, 840 South 1300 East, the 5K is so successful that it is the only fundraiser the school does each year.

"We've actually kind of gotten ourselves on the map with being a really well-planned and organized race," said Katy Christiansen, who has helped plan the race since 2009 and loves it so much she is even continuing to help this year after all of her children have graduated from East High School.

The race begins at the mouth of Emigration Canyon by Hogle Zoo and travels down Sunnyside Avenue into Research Park and then onto Foothill Boulevard. It is a USA Track and Field Certified Course and was measured at exactly 3.1 miles.

The 5K has been called the fastest 5K in Utah because the fastest recorded speeds of both men and women have been posted in this race, with 13:56 for men and 16:34 for women. It is also a safe course, with police present all along the way.

In addition to paying for the police presence and a closed street, the East High PTA pays for professional timers, food, portable bathrooms and T-shirts for participants, all of which figures out to a cost of about $10 per entrant.

"We fundraise to get money to put the race on," Christiansen said, adding that many local businesses help support the race. "If we can get all those costs covered, we make money off the top of that."

Last year $6,000 was raised and the school was able to purchase new computers to be used by all students.

The race is an important one for many avid racers. It is the first race on the Utah road racing circuit, in which participants register to run 14 races throughout Utah during 2011 as a competition.

Last year, 900 people participated in the race and Christiansen is hoping that number will grow this year. "It's a really nice race," she said. "With the combination of the safe course and how fast the race actually is, it's a perfect race for an entire family."

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