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2010 Mercer Island Rotary Run sees record numbers

Almost every year it rains. Yet the collective energy, smiles and cheering of over 4,800 people keeps the rain from dampening spirits, and keeps the runners warm.

The 38th annual Mercer Island Rotary Run took place below grey and dripping skies again this year. But this did not stop runners from across the Pacific Northwest -- and beyond -- from showing up to support the fight against colon cancer. In fact, this year's event boasted a record number of 4,800 participants, with 2,400 signed up for the half-marathon race around the Island.

Islanders young and old showed up to give it their best in one of six events: the half-marathon walk, the 10K run, the 5k walk and run, the kids dash, and the half-marathon run.

Veteran runner Susan Empey, who has won the woman's half-marathon more than once in the past, too a break this year to lead a pack of Lakeridge Elementary students through the 5K event. The children are part of the school's Fit Kids Club, which meets twice a week. Empey said the group of nearly 20 has been running every Friday to prepare for the 5K race.

"I like running and feeling the air go by," said fourth-grader Megan Empey, who has run the 5k three years in a row.

Her friend Alexis Agado, another fourth-grader taking part in her second race, said she liked how everyone cheers.

Other Islanders raced with a more competitive mindset. The first Island male to finish the half-marathon was Don Maclane, 48, who took 42nd place overall with a time of 1 hour, 24 minutes and 33 seconds. Grant Scull, 40, followed close behind with a time of 1:24:57. He was 53rd overall and ninth in his division. Islander Hunter Maclean, 27, took 61 overall and seventh in his division with a time of 1:25:55.

In the women's category, Rachel Pedreira, 18, was the first Islander to pass the finish line with a time of 1:43:16. She took second in her division. Annie Vu, 45, came in next for Islander women with at time of 1:44:53, and then Kristien Asimakoupoulos, 26, finished in 1:46:22.

Tacoma resident Ben Magnum, 31, was the winner of this year's half-marathon race. Magnum finished with a stellar time of 1:10:45. Leavenworth resident Marlene Farrell, 34, stole the women's race with a time of 1:20:46.

Yet not everybody was out to compete. A majority of the racers were simply running to push themselves, have fun and support a worthy cause.

Islander Karen Intrachat, who has participated in the Rotary Run before, said she enjoyed the scenery of the 10k course.

"I liked running through the [East Seattle] neighborhood and admiring the architecture of the houses, which takes your mind off the course," she said, adding that Rotary volunteers also were a plus. "The volunteers were so enthusiastic and well placed on the course."

The Mercer Island Rotary Run, one of the Island's biggest annual events, commemorated its 38th year last Sunday. Money raised through the race goes toward colon cancer prevention and other Rotary charity projects.

For more pictures from Sunday's run see photographer Chad Coleman's photo blog Focus Northwest.

Photos by C. Scott Johnsen, Chad Coleman and Megan Managan

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