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Second ?Freedom Run' set for MLK day

By Ed Brock

Brandon Toro can't say why he likes running so much.

"I just like it," said 7-year-old Brandon.

That's why Brandon and his father, Clayton County police Sgt. Warren Toro, and Toro's 14-year-old stepson Adam Hagy will all participate in Monday's Second Annual 5K Freedom Run & 1-mile Walk, sponsored by the Southlake Kiwanis Club.

Actually, Brandon will run in the 1-mile walk just as he did last year.

"I like to take him to all the 1-mile fun runs. I don't want to push him too hard," said 46-year-old Toro.

The Southlake Kiwanis Club began the race last year to raise money for the club's Disadvantaged Youth Scholarship Fund that is intended to help young people in the Morrow area to attend nearby Clayton College & State University. The potential benefactors are young people who may not qualify for other grants or scholarships, race organizer and Southlake Kiwanis member Kent Ross said.

"These are kids who are bright enough but they come home and have to baby-sit their baby sister because their mom's at work," Ross said. "Things are hard for them but you can see a spark in them that says they are good kids."

More than 100 people attended last year's inaugural run around the grounds of Clayton College and the club is hoping for around 150 this year. This year's race will begin at 9 a.m., a half-hour later than last year, to allow for traffic problems and those coming from long distances, race organizer Mike Mead said.

To register for the race now and on the day of the race is $15 for the no T-shirt option, $20 for either the run or the walk with the receipt of a long-sleeve race T-shirt and $50 for the family rate (three or more people). "Phantom runner" sponsorships for $20 are available and those sponsors also get a T-shirt.

Other sponsorship packages are available, including Platinum ($500) Gold ($300) and Silver ($200) packages. So far Heritage Bank, Allen Vigil Ford and Georgia Power are Gold sponsors and Arbonne International is a Silver sponsor.

Water will be made available for the runners along with food after the race.

The race course begins on the Clayton College campus on State Street, proceeds out to N. Lee Street where the runners turn north and go to Harper Drive. The course goes along Rex Road for a short distance before turning south onto Trammell Road, then west onto Old Rex Morrow Road, onto Twilight Trail and back to N. Lee Street before ending in the campus again.

"(Last year's race) was a lot of good fellowship, a lot of good people and on top of that it was for a good cause," Toro said. "The course is very good. It's well laid out and well monitored."

There will be a 30 percent chance of light rain or drizzles Monday with highs around 50, according the National Weather Service office in Peachtree City.

"We're running rain or shine," Mead said.

Last year some of the money from the race had to be used to cover expenses but this year all of the money from registration fees will go to the scholarship fund. No money has been disbursed from the fund yet and the club is currently considering future scholarship candidates.

The club is applying for tax-free status for the Disadvantaged Youth Scholarship Fund.

For more information on the race call Lisa Sewell at (770) 968-1623.