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The Natasha Watley Foundation walk/run to benefit today's youth

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Charity running has become a popular way to stay fit. It forces you to set challenging goals and to train regularly, all the while helping a cause you believe in. So, running for a charitable foundation is good for your heart, both literally and metaphorically.

On Saturday, March 15, The Natasha Watley Foundation (NWF) will provide another opportunity to give with your heart (and a little with your pocketbook, too) at Woodley Park in Van Nuys for a 5k and 10k race to raise money to create softball teams for inner-city girls in Los Angeles.

Two-time Olympic medalist and two-time World Champion for the USA softball team, Natasha Watley, founded NFW in 2008 to create opportunities for girls in disadvantaged communities, and to introduce them to the game of softball. Shauna Edmund, the NFW race director, says the money raised will provide uniforms and transportation for the girls who compete on teams and in leagues.

“There is also an essay writing contest every year, where the winner gets an all expenses paid trip to see the U.S. softball playoffs,” said Edmund.

Michele Graham, a long-time friend of Watley’s and a wearer of many hats in the foundation, wanted to help this organization, despite never playing softball, because she loves putting together events and she believes in Watley’s mission. Graham says NFW’s core values come from Watley’s “Four Points of the Diamond”, which are discipline, dedication, dignity and duty.

“And, this program isn’t just for kids, it matches top female college athletes from universities nationwide with local teams, and these college mentors coach, teach, and help recruit our star high school athletes.”

The March 15 fundraiser begins at Woodley Park, where the races start and continue around Lake Balboa. There will be plenty of t-shirts, goodies, snacks and beverages provided for the registered runners at the finish line. There will also be awards for fastest individuals and teams, plus awards for teams with most members and teams that raise the most money.

Check w2promotions.com for event details, course description and schedule. First race begins at 8am, and you can still pre-register for a lower price until March 10. The 5k starts at $30 and the 10k starts at $40 through the end of pre-registration, then prices bump up $5 per race. You can register online through Active.com.

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