Printed on: November 22, 2012

Run to Feed the Hungry is today

Marlowe Hereford

Run to Feed the Hungry has long been the biggest race organized by Personal Best Performance and today will be its biggest year yet.

"It's the biggest race for anything on the east side of the state," said race director Michael Hays. "(We're expecting) 2000 plus if we have a really good day."

Hays, who participated in Thanksgiving Day road race for almost 30 years, said Run to Feed the Hungry has drawn participants who have returned to the race for numerous years. Among them is Idaho Falls resident Jon Wood.

Wood competed in his first Run to Feed the Hungry three years ago and hasn't missed a race since.

"On Thanksgiving, we tend to overeat and don't get out enough," Wood said. "It just seemed like a great idea and a great cause to be able to get up and go do a fun run."

Wood said he took up running after he got married and he participated in several marathons for more than 20 years. He now runs for fitness and recreation. Not only has Run to Feed the Hungry become a staple on his calendar, but he also participates in the New Year's Eve race Personal Best Performance organizes every year in Idaho Falls.

Wood pulled a muscle earlier this week while preparing for the race and will be unable to participate today, but his family will. This is the second year his family has done the race and he hopes it will become a tradition.

"As long as they (Personal Best) continue, we will continue to participate in it," Wood said.

Run to Feed the Hungry begins at 9 a.m. in Freeman Park. The event includes a one-mile walk, a 5k walk/run and 10k run. Race day registration is available for $30.

Coming up locally

Two other races take place today. The Upper Valley Turkey Trot begins at 8 a.m. at Smith Park in Rexburg. the Portneuf Valley Turkey Trot 5k begins at 9 a.m. at River of Life Church in Pocatello. Proceeds from both races benefit local food banks.

Area ski resorts open within the week. Today is the opening day for Sun Valley's Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain while Grand Targhee Resort opens Friday and Jackson Hole Resort opens Saturday.

Featured athlete

Local figure skater Mathew Graham of Idaho Falls Figure Skating Club took fourth place in the men's intermediate division with 81 points at the USFSA Pacific Coast Sectional that took place Nov. 9 to 13 in Provo. He advances to the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January in Omaha, Neb. Graham is also scheduled to perform in the Idaho Falls Figure Skating Club's holiday show on Dec. 1 at the Joe Marmo/Wayne Lehto ice rink.

Team USA update

Lindsey Vonn, who was hospitalized with a mysterious intestinal illness on Nov. 12, returned to gate training on Sunday but her status is day-to-day and it is uncertain whether or not she will compete in the Nature Valley Wintertational which begins Saturday in Aspen, Colo.

Several other winter athletes will be in action this weekend. World Cup luge and bobsled/skeleton races take place from Friday to Sunday with luge in Igls, Austria, and bobsled/skeleton in Whistler, Canada. Ski jumping will also take place from Friday to Sunday in Lillehammer, Norway.

Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin received the Male and Female Athlete of the Year awards Monday at the annual Golden Goggles Awards in New York City.

Katie Ledecky, who at 15 was the youngest member of Team USA at London 2012, received Breakout Performer of the Year and Female Race of the Year honors for winning the Olympic 800m by more than four seconds.

Nathan Adrian received Male Race of the Year for his Olympic gold in the 100m freestyle. Franklin, Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer and Allison Schmitt received Relay Performance of the Year award for their world record gold medal performance in the 4x100 at London 2012.

Jessica Hardy received the Perseverance Award. Hardy missed Beijing 2008 because of suspension and she won gold and bronze as members of the 4x100m medley relay and 4x100m free relay teams, respectively.

Marlowe Hereford is a sports reporter for the Post Register. Contact her at mhereford@postregister.com or 542-6772.