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Date of Issue: January 25, 2007

AME Dolphin Dash draws a crowd

AME Run pic
Ready, set, go AME
Overall winner Mickey Hooke (16 minutes, 54 seconds), top photo, front center, shows his determination at the start as runners take off in the 5-kilometer Anna Maria Elementary School Dolphin Dash Saturday. The dash also featured a 1-mile run and Morgan Hackworth, right, an AME fourth-grader, was the first to cross the finish line in that race at 6:51. The event raised money for the school's Parent-Teacher Organization. It was followed by refreshments and prize drawings at St. Bernard Catholic Church, Holmes Beach. Islander Photos: Lisa Neff (top), Diana Bogan (insert)

The first Anna Maria Elementary School Dolphin Dash Saturday, Jan. 20, was such a success, that event coordinator Becky Walter said she’s already planning to do it again next year.

"The turn out was fabulous," said Walter. "I saw some great running moments and people who came together to cheer everyone on. We will definitely do this again next year."

The Dolphin Dash drew 125 runners from the surrounding area for a 5-kilometer run and an additional 50 people registered for a 1-mile fun run. Registration cost $20 for adults and $10 for children with the proceeds to the AME Parent-Teacher Organization.

"The focus of the event wasn’t so much on bringing in funds to purchase a specific item, but rather as a means to promote fitness," said Walter.

Runners ranged in age from a 2-year-old toddler to seniors in their mid-70s. Several AME families participated in the race. Nearly 50 AME students participated in weekly training practices and 30 students earned AME Dolphin Dash shoelaces by completing 12 practice miles before race day.

The 5-k race took runners from the school across Gulf Drive to the Holmes Beach Post Office utilizing side streets. The route again crossed Gulf Drive to continue on Holmes Boulevard to 75th Street and doubled back to the school along the same path.

The overall winner of the 5-k race was Mickey Hooke, a running coach and trainer. He finished in 16 minutes, 54 seconds. Not far behind was the first female to cross the finish line, Melanie Peters, who came in at 18:03.

The first kids to cross the line were third- and fourth-graders Chris Lehman and Nick Rodhous from Stewart Elementary School. They are both members of Stewart’s running club and finished within a split-second of each other at 23:15.

Several members of the Bradenton Runners Club not only participated in the race but also helped coordinate the event. Helping with the race route was Tom Orehowsky.

Winner of the 1-mile fun run was AME fourth-grader Morgan Hackworth, who finished in less than 7 minutes.

After the race, awards were distributed for first- through third-place finishers in several age categories. Door prizes were provided by Dr. Mona Welch, the Anna Maria City Pier Restaurant, runnergirl.com and RoadID. Champs sports stores donated goodie bags and beverages were provided by Crystal water and Tropicana.