Local News: Kayaking, running race helps raise money for St. Jude Hospital (8/27/17)

People kayak on Lake Boutin during the first ever St. Jude Heroes Yak ‘n Run on Saturday at Trail of Tears State Park. All proceeds from the event support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Laura Simon

More than 70 kayaks took to the waters of Lake Boutin in Trail of Tears State Park on Saturday morning for a Yak ‘n’ Run event to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The event began with a half-mile kayak race around Lake Boutin.

After completing the race’s water portion, kayakers paddled ashore and ran on the race’s second leg — 2 1/4 miles through wooded areas of the park.

Race co-directors Debbie Leoni and Gina White said they wanted to make the race special by adding a kayak portion and giving participants Yak ‘n’ Run boonie hats instead of T-shirts.

“We had the idea to do something unique,” Leoni said. “I kayak, so I thought, ‘Let’s try something that hasn’t been done — let’s do a kayak and run.'”

While many competed individually, others divided the water and land portions of the race among two-person teams.

With her sister and teammate, Erin Urhahn, cheering her to the finish line, Addision Urhahn was the 10th to complete the footrace through the wooded terrain.

“It was pretty fun. There was a lot of sticks, so one time, I fell down,” Addison said. “But there was no one behind me, so I just kept running.”

Erin navigated the kayak portion of the race and faced against her other sister, Bailey. Although the family competes regularly in footraces, the sisters had kayaked only twice before the race.

“I almost beat my sister, but she decided to cut me off,” Bailey said.

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