Runners will compete to be "top dog" at the seventh annual See Spot Run 5K run/walk on March 24 in J.F. Gregory Park in Richmond Hill.
The annual springtime race is hosted by Bryan Animal Caregivers, a non-profit, all-volunteer organization committed to promoting animal welfare and responsible pet ownership, and will be open to runners of both the two and four-legged varieties.
"It's a fun and pet-friendly event for the whole family," said BAC president Lauren McCraw. "There are very few races where you're able to bring your dogs for liability reasons, but we go out of our way to make sure they can participate every year."
The race will begin at 9 a.m. in J.F. Gregory Park. Participants will be divided into two heats - one for those running with animals and one for those without - and will run one lap around the park's 3-mile trail.
Participating pets must be on a leash and have proof of rabies vaccination. Water stations and kiddie pools will be available to keep them cool and hydrated.
Prizes will be given to the top finishers in each of the race's categories, which include male, female, with dog, single runner and age groups.
All proceeds from the event will benefit Bryan Animal Caregivers' low-cost spay/neuter program, which offers financial assistance to owners looking to spay or neuter their pets.
"If someone purchases one of our vouchers, basically what we're doing is supplementing the cost of the surgery," explained McCraw. "The vet bills us the remainder of what it costs them. We offer a few different kinds of vouchers - some with regular vets, some with SNAC (Spay/Neuter Alliance & Clinic) and some with additional assistance to those who are proven to be low-income."
According to McCraw, Bryan Animal Caregivers has subsidized the sterilization of over 7,000 domestic and feral animals in the area since 2003.
"We want to raise awareness and educate people about the need to spay and neuter their pets," said event organizer Denise Isacson. "The race is a fun way to do that and, at the same time, is a vehicle to promote the local businesses that sponsor the event."
Event sponsors will set up booths in the pavilion on race day and contribute to the goody bags given to all participants along with a commemorative t-shirt.
This year's biggest sponsor is Coastal Georgia Veterinary Care in Richmond Hill.
Participants can register for the race online at www.active.com for $20 or at the park on the day of the race for $25. Check-in and registration will be at 8 a.m.
Bryan Animal Caregivers has been helping reduce the number of unwanted pets through spay/neuter and adoption programs since 1999. In addition to the See Spot Run 5K, the group also hosts an annual Poker Run fundraiser, which will take place Sept. 22.
For more information on the race or Bryan Animal Caregivers' voucher program, visit www.bryanac.org.