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The fuzz heats up
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The 24th annual Fuzz Run was a record setter this year, with a new fastest race time and a new high in attendance.

"I'm really pleased with the turnout," said Covington Police Captain Ken Malcom. "Anytime you can break a record, you've done some great things. We're just very pleased that everybody came out today."

More than 3,000 people were in attendance for the event, counting all runners, spectators and vendors.

Runner Michael Green broke the 2003 course record with a time of 14 minutes and 42 seconds to complete the 5-K run. The previous record of 14:46 was held by Alan Black.

Green, 30, has now won the Fuzz Run all three times he has participated. He previously placed first in 2004 and 2006.

"The event itself is brilliant," Green said. "When you enjoy the race, you tend to come back."

Born in the United Kingdom, Green is now a Cobb County resident and a sports science PhD candidate at Georgia State University. He participates in 20 to 25 races a year.

"To be honest, the prize money is nice," said Green, who uses his winnings to supplement what he earns through his research at the university.

Patrina Hayes, 31, placed first overall for women with a time of 17:39.

As the winners of the race, Green and Hayes each received plaques and $200. The prizes, along with the rest of the event, were paid for directly from local sponsors.

Runner registration fees go directly to the Covington Police Who Care charity.

"When the dust settles, we expect to have raised about $30,000," Malcom said. "Considering that we started out with a budget of $800, you have to be pleased with that."

 The event kicked off at 8 a.m. sharp with the start of the one mile Fun Run for the youngsters. John Jenkins, 7, placed first in the boys' category while Jasmine Durden, 10, placed first in for the girls.

The 5-K run began almost exactly on time at 8:32 a.m. Malcom said Friday registration for runners and the hard work of the close to 100 volunteers helped the event stay on track.

"That's the reason it is successful, because of how many people offer their time and their expertise," Malcom said.

Winner of the men 70 to 74 category Bob Anderson, 71, has run in the event for the past five or six years.

"I look forward to it every year," Anderson said.

John Bittinger, 75, who placed first in the men 75 and older category, runs 13 to 15 miles every Monday, Wednesday and Friday with Anderson. While both men said they preferred marathons, they still like to take part in as many local events as possible.

"This race is well done," Bittinger said. "Plenty of refreshments and a real good track. And it's all for a great cause."

The Covington Police Who Care gives the money raised by the Fuzz Run to a variety of organizations throughout the community including the Covington YMCA, the Special Olympics, Project Renewal and the Ministers Union.

The raised money can also be given to those in the community with special needs, especially around holidays.

Each year the charity organization picks a few families to sponsor at Christmas.

Other big winners of the day included Michel Strickland, 40, who placed second overall with a time of 15:58; Jon Jenkins, 7, and Parker Paline, 8, who each placed first for in the 8 and under category; and Bill Hoffman, 83, who was the oldest person to finish the race with a time of 48:21.

Full results for the race can be found on the Web sites and