$18,000 raised during 19th Annual RCU Charity Classic

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)--The numbers have been counted for the 2013 RCU Charity Classic and organizers say it was a big success!

Nearly 1,200 participants ran or walked in this year's event, raising $18,000 for area homeless shelters including Sojourner House, Grace Place and The Family Place.

RCU says around 140 volunteers, donors and sponsors helped make the 19th annual event possible.

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Nearly 1,200 racers hit the course for the 19th annual RCU Charity Classic in downtown Eau Claire Saturday morning, with this year's proceeds helping people in need get back on their feet.

Runners and walkers couldn’t ask for better weather with cloudy and cool conditions starting off their 10k and 2 mile run/walk. Proceeds from this year’s race are going to three homeless shelters including the Sojourner House in Eau Claire, Grace Place in Somerset and the Family Place in St. Paul.

RCU community relations manager Jennifer Block said the Charity Classic has raised over $120,000 for area charities in the past.

"This year we have chosen homeless shelters. RCU has a very large footprint, 24 offices; we're here in the Chippewa valley. We're in the St. Croix Valley. We also have three offices in Minneapolis. So we chose a homeless shelter in each of those three areas to benefit so we really are supporting the communities where our members live, work, and go to school,” said Block.

Duana Bremer with Grace Place said the funding will go a long ways.

"This funding is extremely important to us. We are looking at moving to a larger facility to accommodate our needs so this race is a blessing and we are just pleased that RCU has invited us to come and be one of the recipients,” said Bremer.

The Charity Classic attracted some of the top runners from Eau Claire and around the state of Wisconsin. Former UW-La Crosse standout Scott Hayden was the top overall finisher in the 10k, winning in a time of 33:14 while Dani Fischer, who ran at Wisconsin was the top women's finisher at 35:37.

“I always enjoy coming back to Eau Claire. They put on great races here and yes the weather was perfect, cloudy and 60, can't ask for anything better than that. So it's always nice to come back here and do well,” said Fischer.

"Getting real good competition, a lot of young talent. J.P. Nelson, Grant Pulver and literally you can come in almost running distance to the events and run against some really good athletes,” said Hayden.

Eau Claire Immanuel’s Darrin Lau who captured the WIAA division 3 state title in the two-mile last month, won the 2-mile race champion, a time of 10:07. Darrin said it's fun to compete in his hometown.

"Certainly the goal is to improve, tried to get under ten today but I’ll aim for that next year and it's good that I’m continuing to improve,” said Lau.

The next generation of Charity Classic runners also took on a challenge today. More than 200 kids got their chance to spring to the finish in a quarter-mile and half-mile race. Each child received a medal for taking part.

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