Courtesy Photo/Chuck Ray Heather Justice is shown running with her dog at a past Cause for Paws race. The run races money for Save Our Strays Animal Rescue (SOS), a not-for-profit, no-kill shelter in Mingo County.

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WILLIAMSON - Runners, walkers and animal lovers will come together Saturday, Feb. 16, to have fun, get some exercise and support a local animal rescue organization.

The sixth annual Cause for Paws 10K/5K/1-Mile Walk will begin at 9 a.m. at Southern West Virginia Community & Technical College's West Williamson campus. The event is sponsored by the Tug Valley Road Runners Club. Proceeds will benefit Save Our Strays Animal Rescue (SOS), a not-for-profit, no-kill shelter in Mingo County.

The course takes runners and walkers through their choice of three different routes through West Williamson - the longer the distance, the more challenging the route. Participants are invited to bring their four-legged friends to accompany them.

"This is one of our club's favorite races," said Leigh Ann Ray, race director for the Cause for Paws. "It's the only event during which we allow participants to bring their pets to participate with them. We always have a good turnout of fur babies and we are able to help animals in our community that haven't yet found their forever homes. It's a win-win and a lot of fun."

This year's race is sponsored by Karsyn Noe, Logan Mingo Area Mental Health, Central Appalachian Veterinary Clinic, Williamson Animal Hospital, Debra Hess, Appalachian Psychological Associates, Living Water Day Care, Teresa McCune, CT Blackburn Insiders Travel, Kathy's Avon Treasures, Williamson Memorial Hospital, Tug Valley Inn, Paula and David Hatfield, Dr. GT Curry and Bud and Anna May.

"We can't thank our sponsors enough," Ray said. "Their generosity allows us to contribute more money to SOS and help more animals."

Registration is currently open for the event. Fees for the one-mile walk and 5K are $20 until race day, and $25 the day of the race, while the 10K fee is $30 until race day and $35 the day of the race. Those interested in participating in the event can register in person at the historic Coal House and Williamson Health and Wellness Center. Online registration can be completed at

Participants will receive an official race shirt. Finishers will receive a medal and the opportunity to compete for age awards.

For more information about the race or sponsorship for the event contact Ray at 606-794-3564.