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5,280 Feet For Men's Health

Main Street Milers pound pavement for prostate cancer

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I've always wanted to run a marathon, but I have not yet done it. I blame this on New Balance shoe company and their inability to make my perfect sneaker rather than on my wheezing, aching and inability to run long distances. But I do like a race. I like the camaraderie of running, the feeling of pushing my way out of the starting pack and the exhaustion after crossing the finish line.

And I can get this feeling in Boise each June without training, preparing or exerting too much. Actually, everyone can relish this particular road race because it's the Main Street Mile. That's it, just a mile—it's a fun run, even of you don't think running is at all fun.

The race has become something of a party event among local runners and wannabe runners, with costumes and groups creating their own themes and, of course, the snappy ice cream truck that unhinges at the finish line, but the overall objective of the event is more serious.

"The goal is to create awareness for prostate cancer," says the race's director, Ryan Canning. "We send all the proceeds there."

Canning has been involved in the race for the duration of its three-year history because he wanted to bring attention to prostate cancer, even though he does not have personal experience with the disease. So in addition to the race, there's prostate screening for all the guys over age 40.

The race actually sponsors the National Prostate Cancer Coalition mobile clinic, which will offer free prostate screenings in Boise June 29 through June 30. "Last year we provided 441 exams," Canning says. "The goal would be 450 to 500 this year."

The race also contributes $10,000 to the Main Street Mile Men's Health Fund, which has been accumulating over the years in order to help the cause. The fund is just now at a level high enough to disperse.

"This year we will be making the first grant to communities or organizations that want to do something to promote men's health, specifically prostate cancer awareness," Canning says, adding that while he hasn't yet determined the specific amount of the grant, it will likely be between $10,000 and $15,000.

But back to the fun: This race has everything. There are seven wives for seven brothers. No, no, my mistake: There are seven waves for seven runners. There's the kids wave (where they actually chase the ice cream truck down the street like it's a hare), the competitive wave, the teams wave, the first responders wave (with police, firefighters, etc.) and several other categories that should suit any level of runner. Mayor Dave Bieter will make an appearance, too.

Marathons are for seasoned runners. However, if your goal is just to run a marathon collectively over your life, this is an easy installment. You'll be one mile down with only 25.2 more to go.

Main Street Mile is Friday, June 30, 6:25 p.m. in downtown Boise. For more information on how to register or locations for free prostate screening, call 386-9017 or visit www.mainstreetmile.org.