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Thousands enjoy Run the Reagan

Photo by: Brendan Sullivan Over a thousand runners sprint at the start of the 5K Run the Reagan race on the Ronald Reagan Parkway in Snellville on Saturday.

Photo by: Brendan Sullivan Over a thousand runners sprint at the start of the 5K Run the Reagan race on the Ronald Reagan Parkway in Snellville on Saturday.

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Photo by: Brendan Sullivan (Left to right) Phillip Green, Wesley Hayes, 2, Madelyn Hayes, 4, Dusty Hayes and his wife Paige Hayes all of Dacula cheer on Paula Green during the 5K Run the Reagan race on the Ronald Reagan Parkway in Snellville on Saturday.

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Photo by: Brendan Sullivan Thousands of runners participated in the Run the Reagan half marathon, 10K, 5K and 1 mile race on the Ronald Reagan Parkway in Snellville on Saturday.

SNELLVILLE -- In what is becoming an annual tradition, Run the Reagan saw more than 3,000 runners show up again this year to run on a parkway where runners aren't normally allowed on.

Billed as Gwinnett County's Premier Road Race, Run the Reagan consists of a half-marathon, 10K, 5K and Kid's Fun Run, and benefits the Gwinnett Community Clinic and Young Life Ministries.

"It's important for helping the youth in our community and at-risk adults," said Mike Beaudreau, Gwinnett County Commissioner for District 3, who also won the 35-39 men's age group in the 10K. "Not only are we supporting two worthy organizations, but we're encouraging physical fitness."

Skip Breeser, who was one of the race organizers and official race starter, said many of the runners drive on the parkway every day, and it's their one chance each year to run on it.

"No other time during the year are people allowed to run on Ronald Reagan," he said. "It's one of the nicer roads around. Plus, we're supporting two great charities, so this is a great race that's put on."

The day started out with the half-marathon starting, with the 10K, Fun Run and 5K following soon after.

"It's fun race this time of year," said 10K Men's Masters winner Kenyrik Alexis of Grayson. "The course was tough coming back between miles four and five. The hill was tough. Last year I was sick, so this year I wanted to prove to myself that I could put across a good time, which I did. I'm happy with my run."

The 10K, which is also an official Peachtree Road Race qualifier, featured some hills which Alexis described as on par with Peachtree.

"If you can do well here, you'll do exceptional at Peachtree," he said.

"This is a little tougher, but it was good training, especially since I have a half-marathon I'm running next weekend."

Jonathan McNeil ran all three races last year in the name of charity, said this year he would take a break and just run the half-marathon."I don't know if that's really taking a break, but it was a lot of fun," he said. "This is a great cause to run for. We're helping kids and sending them to camp."

Beaudreau noted that while celebrating the accomplishments of all the runners is important, thanking the hundreds of volunteers won't go unnoticed.

"They're why we're able to do these races," Beaudreau said. "The hundred of volunteers who give up their time make these races happen."

And, if the races weren't enough, a family festival was waiting for everyone at the end of the course where there were free giveaway, inflatables and many other activities for everyone to enjoy.

"It's a great day to spend with the family," McNeil said. "My kids are running around having fun and that's what this is about."