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Grandview teen organizes Sage Rat Run to benefit Ronald McDonald House

GRANDVIEW - For the second year in a row Grandview's Gabriel Akins is organizing the Sage Rat Run, a half marathon to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities. The event is scheduled for May 14.

Akins said he hasn't personally needed services of the organization, but knows many who have benefitted from housing and meals, staying together when a child has been ill.

"The charity is serving those in need and I felt the best way to show appreciation is through the support of the organization's programs," said Akins.

Last year the 17-year-old was able to raise $1,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities through the Sage Rat Run.

He credits his parents for their help with organizing the event and the participants who showed up to support his cause.

"I wanted to develop a project to promote the community, to bring people together...and I wanted to earn more community service hours," said Akins, who serves as Chief Master Sergeant with the Civil Air Patrol.

The ambitious teen is a student at Yakima Valley Community College and wishes to either enter a military academy or an ROTC program.

Akins said his parents will organize the Sage Rat Run when he is away in the years to come.

For now, he feels the event is a way to combine his sense of serving others with his passion for running.

Akins is an avid runner and this past weekend participated in an ultra marathon, running 31 miles.

A half marathon, he said, is more suitable to those who are not as ambitious as he is. In addition, he has added a 12K walk/run to the Sage Rat Run for those who feel the distance from Sunnyside's Walmart to Prosser is too far. The 12K event begins at Grandview's Church of the Nazarene on Elm Street and ends at the Prosser Chamber of Commerce, the same finishing point of the half marathon.

This year, Akins hopes to have about 400 participants in the Sage Rat Run. He said he would like to raise $3,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities.

He wants to also provide a Cadet Flight scholarship to the Civil Air Patrol. To do so, he has been participating in multiple marathons throughout the year.

The cost to participate in the May 14 event is $27 per participant. Participants will receive a finishing medal, a tech shirt and more.

Akins said Bill's Berry Farm will also be providing donuts at the event.

He is still seeking additional sponsors and volunteers for the Sage Rat Run.

To contact him, go online at www.sageratrun.com, email Akins at rats@sageratrun.com or call him at 882-7904.

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