'Grin and Bear It Run' all about kids' health

Many ran for a good cause Saturday

Bend 'Grin and Bear It Run'

BEND, Ore. - It's important for children to live healthy, which is why Healthy Beginnings teamed up with Good Teeth, Great Grins (a collaborative effort between Blue Fish Dental, Deschutes Pediatric Dentistry and Pediatric Dental Associates) for Saturday's 12th annual Grin and Bear It Run.

Healthy Beginnings is a 21 Cares for Kids Partner. The race was a 5K and 10K, with a one-mile family fun run to wrap things up. There were booths and fun activities for family members and participants.

One participant said he heard about the run online and decided to do it with his father.

"It's great that Healthy Beginnings is having the kids come out and do healthy stuff and be active," Dalen Gardner said. "I want to support that through running, especially reaching out to kids and letting them know they can be active with whatever they do."

Awards were given to the fastest overall male and female finishers in both the 5K and 10K. Last year, the event generated $5,000 in prizes and $33,000 in sponsorships -- and again this year, as a post-race news release from Healthy Beginnings details:


The Grin and Bear It Run, presented by Good Teeth, Great Grins (a collaborative effort between Blue Fish Dental, Deschutes Pediatric Dentistry and Pediatric Dental Associates), started the Bend running season off in style with music, fun activities, and fabulous prizes, not to mention great running events.

This year's event, a USA-Track and Field-certified 5 & 10K run-walk enjoyed 370 participants. Marshall Greene from Bend placed first overall in the 10K men's with a time of 38:16 and Jessica Whitney, also from Bend placed first overall in the women's 10K with a time of 45:58. In the 5K event, Statia Smith from Bend placed first in the women's with a time of 20:33 and Jason Townsend from Bend won the men's with a time of 18:58 (this was Jason's second 1st place win in the 5K).

The complete race results are available on the Time 2 Race website at Runners on the certified course ranged in age from 5 years to 84.

The 1 Mile Family Fun Run, presented by Quota International of Central Oregon, also enjoyed its fair share of participants with over 300 kids, parents, and even grandparents participating. And for many children (and even a few adults) this was a first-time event.

"The Grin & Bear It continues to be a great start for many runners in our community," explained Holly Remer, the program's executive director. Introducing the love of running to community members and families was at the very heart of this event.

One dedicated participant, Roslyn Eaton (mother of local celebrity and Olympic gold medal winner Ashton Eaton) was part of the "Quota" efforts to support the event and shared that last year's Grin & Bear It Run was her first 5K running event.

The corporate and team component was again a favorite, with Mosaic Medical, for a fourth year, receiving a cash award for the largest team in attendance. The money will be used for Mosaic's patient fund.

"This fund is used to assist our patients in need to purchase prescriptions and also help in transportation costs," explained Tina Bollman from Mosaic. Mosaic sponsored over 160 runners participating in the 5 and 10 K as well as the family fun run.

"Outdoor competitive runs rely heavily on volunteer support, and Healthy Beginnings is fortunate to have such great volunteers involved in their fundraising efforts and screenings as well. Over 80 volunteers participated in today's event," said Anna Marie Casey, the program's volunteer services specialist with volunteers from several high school in the county offering their support.

This year's event generated over $5,000 in prizes and awards and over $37,000 in sponsorships and run entries – dollars dedicated to supporting children and families in the community. These proceeds will support three of the 18 community screening clinics Healthy Beginnings offers throughout Central Oregon.

The Grin & Bear It continues to be the largest fundraiser and friend-maker of the year and has grown from a starting point of less than 100 runners in 2003 to nearly 700 runners, currently.

"Thanks to such great support from volunteers and the community, this event continues to grow and improve every year as it provides an avenue to showcase the importance of early childhood screenings and services," explained Holly Remer.

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