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Two running events benefit county cross country teams

Gwinnett County runners will have two options this Saturday for local races.

There's the traditional Dennis McCormick Road Race and the inaugural Measuring Stick 5K. Both are fundraisers for local cross country programs.

The McCormick race, which is in its 13th year, benefits the Collins Hill cross country program.

"We were really concerned because of the economy that we might not get as many sponsorships," Collins Hill coach Andrew Hudson said. "But Beth Wentworth has worked really hard and we might have the most sponsors ever. We have about 400 people signed up right now and hope to have about 500 on race day."

The race begins at 7:30 a.m. at Collins Hill, goes down Taylor Road, weavers through the Richland subdivision and finishes at the Eagles' track.

The race, which typically draws more than 400 people, is named in honor of Dennis McCormick, who was a major supporter of Collins Hill youth athletics before passing away in the mid-90s.

"This is a huge for our program," Hudson said. "We generate most of our operating budget from this race. It's a big deal for our program."

The race will also serve as team time trials for Collins Hill as it sets up its lineup for the upcoming cross country season. The Eagles are the six time defending state champions.

The Measuring Stick 5K is a first-year fundraiser for Archer High School, which opens this month. The race will be run at Tribble Mill Park along trails as opposed to a traditional road race.

"It's our first fundraiser 5K. It started out as a little idea at the beginning of the summer. I wasn't sure what would ever happen with it, but now it's here," first-year Archer coach Lauren Crowe Horton said. "I think it should be fun. I run lots of 5Ks and 10Ks. It's a really cheap race, $10, and it's on a cross country trail. A lot of road races are on pavement. You either love it or you hate it running on a trail. I think it's a good opportunity for our team to run and for the community to support us."

SideBar: RUNNING

13th annual Dennis McCormick Road Race

· When: Saturday, 7:30 a.m.

· Where: Collins Hill H.S.

· Registration: www.active.com

Measuring Stick 5K

· When: Saturday, 1-mile fun run 8 a.m.; 5K at 8:30 a.m.

· Where: Holly Pavilion at Tribble Mill Park

· Registration: Saturday, 7 a.m.