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Run for the Money to ring register today

The Key Training Center runners reached the staging area for their return to home base Friday evening, completing a 34-mile trek from Lebanon Station to Inglis in Levy County.

The runners on the next-to-the-last day of the annual Run for the Money were James Martone, a Citrus County sheriff's deputy, Ed Gerritts, a Crystal River businessman, and Chris Brown and his daughter, Kelly Brown.

Chet Cole, executive director of the Key Training Center, ran some of the miles with them Friday, as did Key clients Tina Renwick and Ginny Crider. Cabot McBride, director of housing and residential services at the center, paced the runners in a relief van.

McBride said the runners were "in pretty good shape" and were taking most of Friday afternoon off at the Withlacoochee Motel before hitting the road at about 6 p.m. for the final leg into Inglis.

Cole said last year he wouldn't make the run because of concern about his health, but, in a last-minute change of plans, decided to participate on a limited basis.

"Chet did his share of the miles," McBride said. "As for me, I'm in good shape because I stay in the van."

The runners are expected to arrive about 10:45 a.m. today the McDonald's restaurant on U.S. 19 in Crystal River. There, they will take a short break then continue east on State Road 44 to the center.

During the final leg, the runners will be escorted by firefighters and other volunteers. The run is expected to end with Cole and center clients crossing the finish line about noon.

This is the 20th year that volunteers have run the 180 miles from Tallahassee to the center. The Run for the Money is part of a weeklong fund-raising effort by the center, which provides jobs, training and housing to mentally retarded adults.

The Run for the Money week began July 12 with a celebrity auction that raised $30,000. Other events, including a golf tournament and a telethon today, are expected to help the center achieve its goal of raising $95,000 in contributions for the year.

Cole will appear on the telethon, which will be held today from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The telethon will be on Time Warner Cable's Channels 1, 14, and 99; and on Telesat Cable's Channel 27.