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posted: 4/28/2014 9:23 AM

Run for the Animals benefits Cosley Zoo

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By Bonnie McMaken
Wheaton Park District

All runners, walkers and children -- cheetahs and tortoises alike -- are welcome to participate in the Cosley Zoo Run for the Animals.

The 33rd running of the race, named Best 5K/10K in the Midwest by Competitor Magazine in 2011, is a CARA-registered and electronically timed race and one of the largest in the Chicago suburbs, with roughly 2,500 runners.

The June 7 event is hosted by the Cosley Foundation to raise funds for the development and renovation of exhibits at Cosley Zoo in Wheaton.

"This race is near and dear to many people in Wheaton and surrounding areas," zoo director Sue Wahlgren said. "It was Cosley Zoo's first fundraiser over 30 years ago, and continues to be a way to support the development and capital projects at the zoo, a place that touches and educates so many people in the region."

In the past few years, the Cosley Zoo Foundation has used money from events like Run for the Animals to expand the zoo. In 2012, the zoo opened a bobcat exhibit, a major expansion to display the elusive creatures.

"Bobcats were once on the Illinois threatened species list. But because of improvements to their natural habitats, the cats have made a great comeback and have been taken off that list," Wahlgren said.

"By participating in Run for the Animals, people are making a difference in a very active way," she said. "Many people don't want to simply put a check in the mail; they want to be involved. This race is how they do that."

Run for the Animals steps off at 7:30 a.m. in Memorial Park, 208 W. Union Ave., Wheaton. The first 2,500 runners receive a long-sleeve tech T-shirt. Post-race activities include music, awards and refreshments.

Fee for the 5K/10K is $30 through June 2; $10 for the half-mile Zippity Zoo run for ages 6 to 12. Registration is available through active.com until June 2 and during packet pickup at the Community Center from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 4 and 5. After June 2, fees go up.

For information about Cosley Zoo, visit cosleyzoo.org.

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