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      "Rookie runners' get ready for big Bay City race festival

      Runners train for next weekend's St. Patrick's Day Races. / Jason Dubois

      The 38th annualAl Kayner TMs St. Patrick TMs Day Races is next weekend and thousands of runners across the region are getting ready for it. While many runners will be focused on the competitive aspect, several rookie runners are making the commitment in the name of a healthy lifestyle.

      Monica Carlson and Ed St. Laurent of Freeland are focused on the healthy benefits of running and being fit and race director Ann Gasta took them under her wing after they were selected to take part.

      A lifetime commitment is what we TMre hoping to get from this, said Gasta.

      I TMm from a family with heart disease so I know I have to do something to make my heart stronger and I TMve got the push now, said Carlson. Hopefully I can be contagious for my whole family.

      I TMm overweight and I lost weight which is great, said St. Laurent of the four weeks of intense training, which includes stretching exercises, breathing techniques and a steady increase in running distance.

      I do have diabetes and I realized on the medication I TMm taking, I have to take less so it TMs helped me already.

      If you want to join them as part of the races, it TMs not too late. The 8K Run and 5K Run/Walk will be held on March 20th and you can register all the way up through that morning. Go here for more information on the Al Kayner TMs St. Patrick TMs Day Races. The races are sponsored by The Bay Area Runners Club, Catholic Federal Credit Union, and NBC25/CW46.