Relay Racers Are on the Run to Help Children

A 200-mile, 24-hour relay race this weekend to benefit needy and abused children and women had its start when a group of avid runners decided to turn their hobby into something more useful.

The fourth annual Relay Run for Hungry Children will start at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Royal Scandinavian Hotel in Solvang and end Sunday morning at Wolfgang Puck Cafe in Fashion Island, 841 Newport Center Drive.

Bob Hogue of Newport Beach, a co-founder of the race, said he and a group of friends used to run marathon distances in Yosemite National Park or the Grand Canyon. Then they decided to make their running pay off for children in need. "We thought there should be a lot more attention for underprivileged kids," he said. "We're really glad we did that because the response has been pretty overwhelming."

The first year the 10 runners raised $13,000. This year, with the Irvine Co., Charles Schwab and other corporate sponsors on board, they hope to raise $50,000.

Donations will benefit Sheepfold and the Minnie Street Learning Center in Santa Ana; Orangewood Children's Home and the Young Life outreach program of Orange County; Mission to the Americas in San Pedro; and the Estado 29 orphanage in Baja, Mexico.

Two 20-person teams will participate. The runners will travel in pairs, each completing four, five-mile legs within 24 hours. With just two runners escorted by two bicyclists, the race is intentionally low-key, Hogue said.

To join the race, individual runners must raise at least $500 for the cause.

Donations to sponsor runners can be made to the Relay Run for Hungry Children, 4500 Campus Drive, Suite 550, Newport Beach, CA 92660. Information: (714) 645-5503.

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