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updated: 5/8/2012 11:14 AM

Lombard's Mutt Strut is '80 percent human, 20 percent dog'

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On one May morning each year, Lombard Park District sponsors a 5K run and 1-mile walk that's "80 percent human and 20 percent dog."

The Lilac Time Mutt Strut run and Puppy Path walk brings people and pets together for a jog or stroll through Lombard streets at 7 a.m. Saturday, May 19, starting and ending at Lilacia Park, 150 S. Park Ave.

Greg Hooper, the park district program manager who described the event as "80 percent human and 20 percent dog," said people participate with their pets in costumes, their babies in strollers, or simply their best running form in mind.

"It's definitely a very friendly atmosphere," Hooper said about the race, in which running or walking with Rover or Fluffy are both par for the course.

"It's like a dog parade," he said.

Adding to the fun of the run and walk is a pancake breakfast starting at 8 a.m. at Lilacia Park in "the tent that smells like syrup," as the park district's Lilac Time flier describes it.

Everyone who registers for the Mutt Strut or the Puppy Path gets a free ticket to the breakfast, which otherwise costs $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 or younger. Preregistration for the breakfast is encouraged by calling the park district at (630) 620-7322 or registering online at lombardparks.org.

Registering by May 16 for the run or walk costs $20, a $5 savings from the $25 cost of registering on race day.

But Hooper said the event draws a lot of last minute participants, especially if the weather cooperates.

Proceeds from the race go to two charities to match the human and dog proportions of participants. About 80 percent of proceeds will be donated to the Lombard/Villa Park Food Pantry, while the dog's share of 20 percent of proceeds will be given to DuPage County Animal Care and Control, Hooper said.

The run and walk kick off the second to last day of Lilac Time festivities, which also includes a celebration of the park district's 85th birthday from 1 to 3 p.m. in the park with cupcakes, face painting, a Lombard Park District Performing Troupe show and kids' entertainer Dave Rudolf.

The day is so positive and enjoyable that park district employees look forward to staffing it, Executive Director Paul Friedrichs said.

"It's a nice way to wind down Lilac Time in the community," he said.

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