By Michael Stewart / Executive Editor
The Meridian Star
A group of youngsters who hosted Meridian's first full length and half length marathons last month donated $17,500 in proceeds from the event to local charities.
The 259 runners who participated in the Meridian Leo Club's Nov. 3 Run to Remember attracted participants from as far away as Utah, Texas and New York City.
"I think this is great," Meridian resident Sara Abernathy said of the marathon. "I am glad to see Meridian is getting healthy."
The Meridian Leo Club is a service organization for youths 12-18 sponsored by the Lions Club International. At MSU-Meridian Monday members of the Leo Club donated money raised from the run to the following charities:
• Hope Village — $1,000
• Camp Eagle Ridge — $3,000
• Mississippi Lions Sight Foundation — $3,500
• Alzheimer's Association — $10,000
Tommy King, past president of the Meridian chapter of Lions Club International, is also the former advisor to the Leo Club.
"I am really proud of them," King said of the effort by Leo Club members to raise funds to charities that help the elderly. "They did a great job."
Leo Club members came up with the idea for the fundraiser on their own and decided how to put the plan in action.
Meridian Leo Club President Emma Reeves said at the run last month that club members decided on a marathon after hearing about an elderly man who completed a marathon.
"We thought if he can do it, we can do it too," Reeves said.
The November run began in downtown Meridian and ended at Northeast Recreational Park off Highway 39 North.
Leo Club members plan to make the run an annual fundraising event.