Holiday walk, 12K run offered in Gilbert - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Holiday walk, 12K run offered in Gilbert

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Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2009 1:58 pm | Updated: 1:48 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Two holiday events in Gilbert this weekend will draw walkers and runners alike.

Luminaria at the Lake at the town's riparian preserve and the 12K's of Christmas Holiday Run will bring out the sneakers and stroller crowds.

Luminaria at the Lake, an annual event at Gilbert's Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch, runs from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Riparian Preserve is southeast of Greenfield and Guadalupe roads.

Gilbert Spokeswoman Beth Lucas said parking is available at the preserve or at the adjacent Southeast Regional Library.

"There's a walkway that goes from the Riparian to the library," she said. "It's about a half-mile walk."

Some of the entertainment will include a choir, professional musicians and an appearance by Santa Claus.

The event is free, but volunteers are asking for $2 donations.

For information, go to www.riparianinstitute.org or call (480) 503-6400.

For the more ambitious, the first annual 12K's of Christmas event goes from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. There will be youth and performing groups singing Christmas Carols in the park beginning at 8:30 a.m. The event also features handmade crafts in the Christmas Bazaar and Santa's Pet Village.

Registration for the 12K race is $35. A 1.2K Santa Sled Run - a team fun run, walk or stroll where pets are welcome and costumes encouraged - is $35 per four-person team. The races are at Freestone District Park at the southeast corner Lindsay Road and Juniper Avenue, just south of Guadalupe Road. Registration is from 8 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. The races begin at 10 a.m.

Kathleen Toupkin, who helped organize the race with her husband, said more than 550 people registered for both races combined so far, but she's expecting a lot more last-minute registrants. Part of the proceeds will go to Maricopa County Animal Care and Control. The event will also feature animals for adoption by various groups.

"We love animals and we both run and bicycle, so we've always wanted to produce a fitness event," Toupkin said. "And we both love Christmas."

Toupkin said the race will be an annual event.

For information, call (480) 609-3978 or go to www.12Krun.com.

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