Running club's Tuesday fund-raiser is a sweet treat

'Chocolate Tasting Event' scheduled from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Judy's Kitchen

From Staff Reports

Feb. 11, 2008 - If you love chocolate and good causes, make time to attend North Hopkins' Running Club's second annual Chocolate Tasting Event, to be held Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m at Judy's Kitchen.

"This is our first fund-raiser of the year," said Janis Thomas, North Hopkins English teacher and a running club sponsor. "For $5, you can enter something in the contest. For $5 you can also taste all the chocolate creations you want. Last year, we had 33 entries, so that's a lot of chocolate."

The contest winner is selected by popular vote.

"This is a people's choice award. Once everyone has tasted all they want, they vote for their favorites," Thomas said. The winner receives a trophy and $50.

The girls and their sponsors are going to the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park and Bryce National Park to train this year, according to Thomas. In the past, members of the club have traveled to Wyoming (2005), Colorado (2006) and New York (2007).

This year the camp will be led by Tracie Akerhielm, who has coached previous running camps. Akerhielm, who was valedictorian of her graduating class at North Hopkins, was the 1999 Class A Cross Country Champion and the 2000 Class A 1600 and 3200 meter State Champion. She also ran distance, cross country and track for four years at Texas Tech. Akerhielm is currently a trainer and saleswoman at RunOn! in Dallas, and she is working on her doctoral degree at Texas Woman's University in Denton.

"We're going to have between 12 and 15 girls this year," Thomas explained. "We'll leave July 29 and return on August 8. National Geographic is offering the same tour as we're taking for $2,500."

The runners finance a portion of their trip with fundraisers, including the one at Judy's Kitchen, while businesses pick up the rest of the tab.

"About half of the support for the summer camping and training trip comes from the Hopkins County business community," said Thomas. "Names of sponsors go on the back of the camp T-shirt and in a large thank-you spot in the newspaper.

The running club is grateful to Judy's Kitchen owner Judy Gilreath, who donates space for the annual event.

"Judy's very generous to do this for us," Thomas said.

The running club and camp is open to any high school girl in the Northeast Texas are who is serious about running.

For more information on the club or the chocolate tasting, call sponsor Janis Thomas at 903-395-4431.

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