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Sunrise Rotary Club declares first Halloween Gala run a success

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About 100 people had a scary good time running for a cause Saturday morning.

Watertown’s Sunrise Rotary Club, named for the time of day members typically meet, held its inaugural Halloween Gala 5K Walk/Run and 10K Run at Thompson Park to raise money for various causes.

“Walks and runs are becoming really popular, so we wanted to see how it’ll go,” said Foundation Committee Director Karen D. Romeo. “We’re planning on doing it every year.”

Despite chilly weather, family members and friends cheered in support as the runners, who had started at 10 a.m., sprinted or trudged their way uphill toward the finish line at the Thompson Park pavilion.

Many of the runners signed up because they wanted to help their community.

“We try to support everyone,” said Betsy M. Nicol, Copenhagen. “Everyone has a good cause.”

Mrs. Nicol was with a group of avid runners who came out for the 10-kilometer portion of the run.

“It’s a good hill workout,” said Gwen A. Decker, Rodman. “I think it’s important to come out and support your community.”

The money raised will go toward ShelterBoxes in struggling areas, water treatment projects in Third World countries and the eradication of polio, among other causes.

Major annual fundraisers the club organizes for these causes include a recent spaghetti dinner, a pancake breakfast in March and a rose sale in conjunction with the Noon Rotary Club.

Another avid runner, Benjamin R. Wiest, Watertown, ran the 5-kilometer race, saying it was enough of a workout.

“We compete in a lot of these,” he said. “It’s always more for the challenge.”

Mrs. Romeo said she hoped 200 people would show up at the event, but she was happy about the number of people who participated on the crisp fall morning.

“We had quite a few people signing up this morning,” she said. “We’re happy with the people who showed up today. We just hope we can grow our numbers next year.”

Mrs. Romeo called the event a learning experience for the race committee.

“I think we need to set it up earlier next year,” she said. “There’s so many runs at this time of year, so I think people pick and choose which ones to go to.”

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