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Jesters jog for museum

by Kelli DuFresne
BRAD HORN/Nevada AppealJennifer Tarten, dressed as the jester, runs with the children during the kid's run of the Jester Jog at Pinon Plaza last year. Lindy Lehman, 6, of Carson City, right front, takes the lead and eventually won the race in her division.
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For the Shonnard family of Carson City, racing in Saturday’s Jester’s Jog isn’t about speed. It’s about doing things together.

The family has competed in the fund-raiser for the Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada since its first or second year. When they started, their 5-year-old twins, April and Michael, were some of the only children on the course.

Now in its seventh year, the race has grown to 180 runners and 40 or 50 of those are children. Proceeds from the race help fund programs at the museum.

April said this will be her sixth year in the race. She said she runs a couple times a month.

“Running gets me tired, and I end up walking,” she said. “I water ski and snow ski. I play soccer and hike and dirt bike.”

Her brother, Michael, said, “We don’t exactly train for it. Our family usually just exercises a lot and stuff. Because it gets your body in shape.”

The 11-year-old twins are fifth-graders at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic School and will be on the two-mile course Saturday. Other options for competitors are the quarter-mile fun run for kids 6 and under, a two-mile walk for the entire family, and two-mile and 10-kilometer competitive runs.

Race organizer Erin Lehman and her family will also be on the course.

She said while the event is still geared toward competitive runners, she is trying to make it more family friendly.

“It’s fun to see a family of four or five cruising around. It’s nice to have a good mix.

“I’ll be walking with our 5-year-old, and I think my husband’s going to run the two-mile course with our 7- and 8-year-olds.”

Tracy Shonnard said she and her husband, Keith, started running when they were in the military.

“We took the kids to multiple races, we used to push them in a baby jogger, and when they got old enough, one of us would stay behind with them and the other one would run.

“We’re trying to get our kids into triathlons and sport races. I’m not big into team sports. In sport racing the only one you’re really competing against is yourself.

“We’ve always liked the Jester’s Jog. When we first started going, they were some of the only kids who showed up for the kid race so they got to win all the prizes. Now more kids show up, but they still have a lot of prizes.

“It’s fun and great to be able to bring the kids out. I think it’s neat when whole families do it.”

Lehman said last year’s race was the museum’s most successful – earning almost $10,000. She hopes to increase the number of participants this year to 300 and raise even more money.

“Anyone can participate. We have the two-mile walk which anyone can do. And moms can do it with children in strollers. Kids can do the two-mile walk, and kids also like to do the two-mile run,” she said.

An awards banquet and raffle prizes will follow the race in the large banquet room at the Piñon Plaza Resort and Casino.

All children will get a ribbon and a free bowling pass at the Piñon Plaza Bowling Center for participating. The Children’s Museum jester is going to be there helping kids with crafts while raffle prizes are awarded. Prizes include dinner for two from the Nugget and Piñon Plaza steakhouses and from Red’s Old 395 Grill, picture packages from Little People Portraits and more.

Seventh annual Jester’s Jog

When: Registration begins at 8 a.m., race starts promptly at 9 a.m.

Where: Piñon Plaza Resort Casino, 2171 Highway 50 E.

Cost: Registration is $30 for ages 13 and up, 12 and under are $10.

Race applications:

Available at Fleet Feet Sports or the Children’s Museum, 813 N. Carson St. For information, call Fleet Feet Sports at 883-3361 or the Children’s Museum at 884-2226.