After six years, the Putnam City Cancer Classic is running smoothly. The annual 5-kilometer race and 1-mile fun run began in 2008, as part of Putnam City Schools' fundraising for cancer research at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. The most recent Cancer Classic was run Nov. 2 at Stars and Stripes Park in Oklahoma City.
Race organizer Jason Hasty, who teaches physical education at Western Oaks Elementary School and serves as Putnam City School District's chairman for physical education, said it gets a little easier every year because so many people volunteer to help.
“We had more than 1,000 people come out and had nothing but compliments,” he said. “Volunteers gave us lots of help, so while there's plenty of behind-the-scenes work we did to prepare, the day of the race, it just rolls.”
Putnam City Superintendent Dr. Fred Rhodes calls the Cancer Classic a fun event with a serious purpose.
“Every year a thousand or more students, parents, educators and members of our community gather together for this run to raise money for cancer research at OMRF,” he said. “We appreciate so much the giving spirit of all involved in this meaningful event.” This year's overall winner was Tyler Stevens, 17, of Jones, who finished the 5k in 17 minutes 50 seconds.
“This was my third time running the Cancer Classic and it's gotten bigger each year,” Stevens said.
Though it was a chilly morning, Hasty said they couldn't have chosen a better day if they tried.
“This year we added a few things for the racers, including a mat a hundred yards from the end that reads the race chip,” he said. “That way every runner got their name called when they crossed the finish line.”