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May-02-2007 10:31printcomments

Awesome 3000 Turns 25 on Saturday

Two former Olympic athletes will appear as celebrity guests of honor to help motivate the expected thousands of young runners.

Awesome 3000 logo
Photo courtesy: Salem-Keizer Education Foundation

(SALEM) - The Awesome 3000 turns 25 this Saturday, and marks a quarter century of support for Salem-Keizer schools.

Two former Olympic athletes will appear as celebrity guests of honor to help motivate the expected thousands of young runners.

The annual fun run, which raises money for the Salem-Keizer Education Foundation’s teacher grant program, kicks off at 8:30 a.m. at McCulloch Stadium with the middle school girls.

Heats continue throughout the morning, culminating with the Pre-K “Run for Literacy” for runners 5 and under.

Title sponsor First Tech Credit Union joins Scholastic in providing a free book to all kids in the Run for Literacy.

Garten Services is again sponsoring the 300 meter Special Needs run.

Saturday’s events are capped by a 25th anniversary “Reunion Run,” a 1,500 meter, un-timed run open to anyone.

Parents and youngsters will find many familiar features returning for this year’s Awesome: the pancake breakfast from 8:00 – 11:00 AM, the Awesome Activity Village, security bracelets for children’s safety, photo opportunities with GEO, and medallions for all participants.

New this year for the 25th anniversary: a redesigned course allows all runners to start and finish on the McCulloch Stadium track for better viewing from the grand stand.

The foundation also is pleased to welcome former Olympic decathlete and bronze medalist, Dave Johnson, and Olympic gymnast, Nancy Thies-Marshall, as guests of honor. They are dedicated to healthy, active lifestyles and motivating young people. The Olympians will lead runners in warm-up activities, sign autographs, and energize the crowd.

Runners should pick up their Awesome packets Thursday or Friday between 10:00 AM and 8:00 PM at 1110 Commercial St. N.E. Note that all participants must pick up their packets by Friday evening in order to run in the Awesome.

Parents and youngsters are encouraged to come early Saturday to enjoy the Activity Village and ensure runners are ready for their heats.

Questions? Call the Awesome 3000 Hotline at (503) 370-2885 or go to

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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