Muttontown: Mixed Breeds in Need hosts a "Run in the...

Muttontown: Mixed Breeds in Need hosts a "Run in the Park" a cross country event at the Muttontown Preserve to benefit shelter animals, dogs run through some obstacles on Saturday, June 12, 2010 in Mutontown, New York. (Photo by Howard Schnapp) Credit: Photo by Howard Schnapp

Xander Montavano completed his half-mile run Saturday in the Muttontown Preserve with energy to spare, and set to work petting every dog in sight.

Asked how he had enjoyed the course, the 6-year-old from East Northport said simply, "I really like smelling the grass, so I smelled all of it when I ran."

Casual and competitive runners, some accompanied by pets and cheerleading parents, parked their vehicles on the preserve's grassy field for the cross-country 5-kilometer run and half-mile "fun run" to benefit shelter animals, sponsored by the nonprofit animal-rescue organization Mixed Breeds in Need.

Uncertain weather predictions and a weak preregistration count did not cloud her feeling of "good energy" for the day, said Marsha Greenman, a Mixed Breeds founder. Dogs mingled as the race participants traded pet-related anecdotes while waiting for the runs to begin.

A worker for Island Timing, which tracked runners' times, gave instructions and a preview of his standup routine. Blaring directions and jokes into his megaphone, he warned: "This is cross-country at its best - which means it's not good. This is an equestrian trail, and it is well fertilized."

After completing the run through the woods, Frank Carillo, 65, of Freeport, said the path, while well-outlined with chalk lines and red arrows, was composed largely of "hills, rocks, roots and holes."

Carillo, who runs in competitions and usually works out in Cow Meadow Park and on the boardwalk in Long Beach, said he was using the race Saturday to work on running a faster mile.

At tables, vendors sold snacks, antiques and jewelry. An agility course organized by All Fur Fun Agility and a demonstration by Lug-Nuts, a program organizing positive dog sports for pit bulls and other breeds, rounded out the day's offerings.

All proceeds from Saturday's registration, and participation fees in the agility course, will benefit animal shelters on Long Island.

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