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Young runners enjoy early spotlight

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WINNIPEG - They may have been the smallest racers of the 2012 Manitoba Marathon but they were certainly the mightiest.

About 40 youngsters aged six and under started off the 2012 Manitoba Marathon with the first event, called the Mighty Mites, of the 34th running of the event.

Lauren Morphy, six, of Winnipeg was the first athlete to triumphantly cross the finish line of the 100-metre fun run where everyone wore a No. 1 race bib.

"I had a cinnamon bun for breakfast. That gave me lots of energy," the grade one student from Highbury School. "I'm in gymnastics but I like running."

With a 6:30 a.m. start, it was pretty early morning for Lauren and her mom Ewa but Lauren didn't mind.

"I wanted to come," said Lauren, who along with all the other participants received a balloon and juice at the finish line.

Roger Louren, a longtime Marathon volunteer, wears a fluffy black wig led the kids in stretching exercises at the start line and handed out ballons.

"I'm a teacher and I know kids just love participating in fun events," Louren, who teaches at Victoria Albert School in Winnipeg, said. "It's a unique event, it's very short, very sweet. And you get a balloon! What kid doesn't want a balloon?"

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

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