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University Park Readies for Azalea Classic

Proceeds from Saturday's race will benefit the University Park Elementary School PTA.

Hundreds of runners, walkers, and spectators are set to descend on University Park this Saturday for a springtime tradition: the 11th Annual Azalea Classic.

Proceeds from the event will go to the  PTA, which helps pay for equipment, supplies, and teaching positions at the school.

Saturday's action includes three separate races, starting with a one-mile challenge run for children ages 8-12 at 8:30 a.m. and a 1K family fun run at 8:45 a.m.

The main event—a 5K run/walk around the streets of University Park and College Heights Estates—begins at 9:05 a.m. Participants will be treated to live music and a water table near the halfway mark of the race. will also be on hand to control traffic along the course (see a map).

More than 800 people participated despite brisk conditions and plenty of mud. This year, forecasters are calling for partly cloudy skies around race time with temperatures in the mid-60s. (Showers and thunderstorms are expected later in the day, however.)

UPES students have been preparing for the event with phys. ed. teacher  and through an after-school training group organized by the PTA. Most of the school's teachers are also signed up to participate, and some locals have been limbering up with Saturday morning "Couch to Classic" training runs.

Runners can pick up their race packets in the UPES gym Friday from 4-7 p.m. or Saturday from 7:30-8:30 a.m. Late registration is allowed on both days—$15 for children, $25 for adults.

Timing chips will be made available Saturday morning in front of the UPES mural and collected at the conclusion of the race. Complete results will be posted on the Azalea Classic website and emailed to participants.

Stick around after the 5K for complimentary refereshments, an awards ceremony, and a drawing for prizes provided by event sponsors.

For more information on the 2012 Azalea Classic, consult the following pages:

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