ALTON – Back in 1979, Hit-N-Run sponsored a race for youngsters that has become a midsummer institution in the Riverbend area.

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At 8 a.m. Sunday, that institution marks its’ 40th anniversary as the Hit-N-Run Pee-Wee Run takes place at Gordon Moore Park; the event is the second part of the Alton Road Runners Club’s Summer Running Series.

The run has become one of the oldest – if not the oldest – event of its’ type in the nation.

“It’s a good time for everyone who comes out,” said club president Russ Colona. “The kids come out, enjoy the run and everyone comes away with a prize; we’ve given away bikes and other things and have drinks for the kids; everyone has a prize at the end of the run.

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“It’s a good way to introduce kids to road running; we have a quarter-mile run for kids six and under and a half-mile run for those 7-14.”

The Pee-Wee Run has been sponsored by Hit-N-Run since the beginning; it’s become a family tradition to take part in the event for Riverbend-area families.

“Hit-N-Run has been a great sponsor for the past 40 years,” Colona said. “We’ve had families take part in the run for years; I think we’re now into our third generation of families who have taken part.

“What’s great about it is that the volunteers who come out to help have this down to a science; we make sure everyone who takes part has time to get to church afterward if they want to go, We’ll have it wrapped up by 9 a.m.”

The event, as mentioned, introduces youngsters to road running as does the first event, the Alton Memorial Hospital Family Run, introduces kids to cross-country running and the final event, the renamed Dash-N-Glow at East Alton-Wood River’s Memorial Stadium, introduces kids to track running. For more information on Sunday’s run, visit www.altonroadrunners.com.

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