By Arnecia Walker
For the Opelika

Jean Dean RIF (Reading is Fundamental) and the East Alabama Medical Center are partnering together to host the 11th annual Read to Run which will be held Oct. 27th at West Ridge Park in Opelika.
“Jean Dean RIF’s purpose is to put quality, age-appropriate books into the hands and homes of at-risk young children before they start kindergarten,” said Jean Dean RIF’s Executive Director Cathy Gafford said.
The Run to Read event is a way for Jean Dean RIF and EAMC to work together to improve health and literacy locally. Participants can run or walk and will have an opportunity to attend the parenting and wellness fair, which will include free health screenings provided by Auburn University Via College of Medicine.
The event consists of a five and 10K run, which will begin at 8:15 a.m., and the “Sara Schwarzauer 1-Mile Walk” starting at 8:30 a.m. Families, groups and individuals are encouraged to attend.
Race day registration for participants will be available at 7 a.m. with a rate of $25 for ages five to 100 and free for children 4 years and under. Those that completed the early registration, which concluded on Oct. 17, will be able to pick up their packet on Oct. 26 between 3-6 p.m. at the Jean Dean RIF warehouse, which is located at 1105 Fitzpatrick Ave.
Proceeds from the event will be used to purchase books for the children that Jean Dean RIF serves.
Registered participants will be eligible to participate in the Halloween costume contest for a chance to win a prize. A chance to win the top door prize as well as awards for top runners will also be provided. A limited number of Halloween-themed event R-shirts (not included in registration fee) will be available for $10.
In addition, there will be many photo opportunities with Clifford the Big Red Dog and Auburn University’s beloved mascot Aubie and a chance to meet an Alabama author.
Donations of books will be accepted, but will be given to other sites in need. However, donations of shoes in wearable condition are encouraged, but not required to help the fundraiser, SHOES4BOOKS, which benefits those in third-world countries.
For more information or to volunteer, call Gafford at 334-750-9974 or email
West Ridge Park is located at 1600 Covington Ave.