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N. Lehigh hosts annual ‘Running of the Dawgs’

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    3-year-old Border Collie Kobe took home “winning dog” at Saturday’s race. DANIELLE DERRICKSON/TIMES NEWS

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    LEFT: Elaina Ray, 7, crosses the finish line after racing in the Northern Lehigh Education Foundation’s Annual “Running of the Dawgs” 1-mile fun run. DANIELLE DERRICKSON/TIMES NEWS

Published April 13. 2019 08:10PM

Despite pouring rain early Saturday morning, there was never a question of whether or not the Northern Lehigh Education Foundation’s Annual “Running of the Dawgs” would take place, Northern Lehigh High School Principal Robert Vlasaty said.

The race has taken place every year since 2010, and by 8:30 a.m., the first of the relay’s two events was already underway.

“I think it’s a tradition,” Vlasaty said.

“It’s all about community,” he said. “I had most of my teachers graduated from this school. They graduated from this high school, went to college and came back because it’s a great community.”

The day started with a 1-mile fun run, where youngsters like Elaina Ray, 7, could show up and support their school district.

Then came the 5K run/walk, which took its participants — and a few dogs — around the neighborhoods surrounding the district schools. Racers finished at the Northern Lehigh High School Bulldog Community Stadium, wrapping up their efforts with a single lap around the track.

Zack Polinsky was one of the handful of runners to cross the finish line that morning, alongside his 3-year-old border collie Kobe. Polinsky said that he had been wanting to take up running for a while, and because he was allowed to run alongside his pup, the education foundation’s annual race was the “paw-fect” opportunity. It was the pair’s first time ever running a 5K together.

“Having him as a running partner motivated me to keep going,” Polinsky said. “He definitely drug me across the finish line.”

In the end, Kobe’s energetic demeanor and general good-boy spirit helped him claim the crown as “winning dog.” And Polinsky said he hopes to see more races in his and his canine companion’s future.

“I’d like to keep running for sure,” he said.

Awards were given for the first, second, third and overall winners. Jeff Dobias, 38, of Palmerton, won first overall in men’s category, and Natalie Moffitt, 11, of Slatington took home first in the women’s.

Proceeds raised through both races go toward aiding schools in the Northern Lehigh district. That could mean purchasing technology for students, supplying “mini-grants” for teachers or supporting the district’s newly founded Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics summer camp.

“We try to collect as much money as we can so we can assist the school district,” William Danish, Northern Lehigh Education Foundation treasurer, said. “It’s a good thing for the community.”

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