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5,109 women in annual run
DAVID GRUBBS/Gazette StaffRunners and walkers, some with strollers and some with umbrellas, brave the rain Saturday to compete or just attend the Montana Women’s Run in downtown Billings. The winner of the 5-mile race was Karen Sanford Gall of Billings, below left, and the winner of the 2-mile race was Emily Klee of Central High, below right.

A record 5,109 runners signed up for the 22nd Annual Montana Women's Run Saturday, beating the 2002 record of 4,220.

Racers of all ages turned out in yellow rain slickers and the occasional garbage-bag poncho to take part despite murky weather.

The youngest runner to place for her age division was Michaela Johnson, 5, of Billings. The oldest was Wilma Fender, 83, also of Billings. Both ran the two-mile route.

The age spread among top finishers in the five-mile wasn't much different. The youngest was Billings resident Isabella Whitworth, 6, and the oldest was Ruth Sheller, 81, of Red Lodge. Both Fender and Sheller were top finishers last year, as well.

The overall top runner was Karen Sanford Gall of Billings, whose 30-minute, 27-second winning time was 20 seconds faster than her time last year.

Awards were given at the courthouse lawn on North 27th Street at 10 a.m. The Challenge Cup was presented to Best Realty/GMAC Real Estate and the American Cancer Society for having the greatest percentage of women participants of any business, club or organization. Both had 100 percent participation.

The Montana Women's Run promotes women's health and fitness. Proceeds benefit local women's services.

For more information, go to or call 255-8488.

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