When the “Friends on the 4th” 5K run/jog/walk began in 2003, the race had 97 entrants. There could be more than 700 this year at the 10th running of the race.

The race, which begins at 8 a.m. Wednesday in Winthrop, has been growing recently by about 20 or 30 runners per year. Race director Bob Moore said 586 people ran last year’s event, and this year he is confident in saying that number will be over 650.

Moore said he never envisioned the race getting this big. He simply wanted to do something to benefit the Friends of the Cobbossee Watershed.

“I was looking at doing a special event,” he said. “There were so many golf tournaments around. I thought runners might be environmentalists, so I said, ‘Let’s run a road race.’ “

According to Moore, runners from about 30 states have signed up for the event. He attributes the popularity to three things: The organization, people visiting families in Maine on July 4, and a course that runs along Maranacook Lake.

“I think if you get a good date and a good course, you can start to build some kind of tradition,” Moore said.

Last year, Cony graduate and University of Miami runner Luke Fontaine won the men’s title with a time of 15 minutes, 40 seconds. Emily Durgin won the women’s title in 18:37. Both are register to run Wednesday.

Runners can still pre-register until 9 a.m., today by visiting http://watershedfriends.com under “News & Events.” You can also register the day of the race, beginning at 7 a.m., at the race start at the American Legion on Bowdoin Street. Registration costs $20 in advance, $25 on race day.

• • •

For the last 21 years, Amy Lawson has been running in some form. She was a high school state champion in the mile and two-mile, and has completed five marathons. She also likes to write, so naturally, she started a running blog.

But there’s little to no similarity between Lawson’s blog and most running blogs. That’s the point. Lawson’s is more of a “You can do this too” kind of blog.

“I wanted to make a running blog that was really informational, but wasn’t about me,” Lawson said. “Most blogs, it’s about one person and their journey. What I’m trying to do with it is answer the most common questions I get. When I hear a question two or three times, I try to address it on the blog.”

Lawson’s blog can be found at http://runmuffin.blogspot.com. She’s also the founder and head coach at Kennebec Valley Coaching (http://kennebecvalleycoaching.com). At KV Coaching, Lawson and others work with people to help them become runners.

For example, there’s a trail running program beginning Saturday morning and continuing each Saturday at a different trail system in Augusta. The goal is to prepare people for the “Mountain Raid” at Sunday River, which is 1.5 miles uphill and then 2.5 miles downhill. There’s also a 10-week triathlon training group, with two sessions a week beginning July 17. That’s coached by Chad Lewis, and the only prerequisites are that you can run a mile, know how to swim, and can ride a bike.

But those are the more serious types. Lawson also wants to make running possible for people who have no visions of competing in triathlons.

“Most of my clients are very down-to-earth, average people,” Lawson said. “Most of them don’t look like a typical runner you would picture in your head. It’s a lot easier to run if you can tone it down and have some fun with it.”

To that degree, Lawson often takes a playful tone with her blog. One of her posts is titled “10 Reasons You Should JUST FREAKING EXERCISE.” On the KV Coaching site, there are photos listing what Lawson does. One caption reads, “Amy wins medals (especially when there’s no one else in her age group).”

“I try to make running not seem so intimidating — a little less serious and a little more fun,” Lawson said.

• • •

The Oakland accounting firm PFBF CPAs is holding its third annual half marathon/5K Run or Walk, beginning at 8 a.m., Sunday.

Race director Ann Grant said there were about 140 entrants altogether the first year, and about 260 last summer. She is hoping for about 300 on Sunday.

“I think it’s going to get bigger and better every year,” Grant said. “We get a lot of good feedback.”

PFBF picks a different charity each year, and this year proceeds benefit the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter. The Sukeforth Family Foundation will match up to $5,000 raised.

“Last year, we committed to raising $6,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and we made it,” Grant said. “So we’re hoping to make the $5,000. I don’t know whether we will or not. We get a lot of donations at the last minute.”

Registration is $45 for the half marathon and $35 for the 5K race/walk. Runners can register online at www.pfbf.com/Marathon2012.html. There will be registration available on Saturday, July 7, from 4-6 p.m. at the PFBF office, at 46 FirstPark Drive in Oakland. Same day registration will begin at 7 a.m., an hour before the race.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

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