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Rain Doesn't Dampen Enthusiastic Easton Runners

EASTON, Conn. – Rain and cold weather may have held some people away from Saturday’s April Fool’s 5K Race for DARE in Easton, but it did not dampen the enthusiasm or the energy of the hardy runners who participated in the race.

A total of 173 runners crossed the finish in the 13th annual event at Samuel Staples Elementary School. Trumbull’s Matt Klein and Easton’s Meredith Anand were the overall winners.

“The weather hurt us a little lit, but we had a great turnout and wonderful volunteers and a lot of support for the DARE program,’’ said Easton DARE officer Mark Pastor, who organizes the race with his wife, Dawn. “It could've been much worse. We keep seeing the same people every year and this is our 13th year doing it. We’re looking forward to the 14th.”

Klein pulled away from the pack early and cruised home well ahead of the field in 15:55. Anand, likewise, pulled away for a comfortable win in the women’s race, beating her nearest challenger by three minutes. Anand won in 18:11 and was second overall. Joel Bender of Bedford, N.Y., took third overall and second among men, followed by Dave Miles. Caitlin Neary of Easton was second in the women’s field, followed by Karen Newman of Greenwich.

While they were the top runners, the race is as much about fitness, supporting the DARE program and  providing a recreational outlet for children. The race is the primary fundraising source for DARE , which stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. The program targets fifth-graders and teaches them drug abuse prevention and positive decision-making.

“The kids like finishing this race,’’ Pastor said. “What a feeling it is for them to run over 3 miles. They do what they have to do to finish it, whether it’s walking or running. They don’t have to be up at 8 on a morning like this, but they want to do it. They’re a big part of why this race is so successful.”

Complete results are available online .

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