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Group training for Gate River Run

From left: Christa Figgins, Connie Walker, Michael Figgins, Debbie Foran and Sarah Green take the  first steps of a 5-miles run on a recent Saturday morning.

The 35th annual Gate River Run draws thousands of professional and amateur runners to Jacksonville for the largest 15K in the nation. Many are from Baker County.

For this year’s event — which also features a 5K run and children’s run in addition to the 9-mile race with $85,000 in prize money up for grabs — the Baker County YMCA started group training sessions for the Gate River Run.

Y member Connie Walker spearheaded the effort with help from facility staffers by inviting those interested to three weekly training sessions, which began January 3. She also supplied runners with a training schedule to gradually build up their endurance through race day on March 10.

Ms. Walker said about 10 joggers regularly meet for training runs on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings, though attendance at a bi-weekly discussion session on topics like proper footwear and other tips has been lacking.

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Francis Monroe, 88, dies Jan. 27

Frances Monroe, 88, died January 27, 2012 at Macclenny Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Mrs. Monroe was a member of Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church, Old Town, FL, where she served as church secretary.

Survivors include children Rosebud Monroe and Oweida Manier, both of Macclenny; five grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren; 10 great-great-grandchildren.

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Oscar Hobbs, 86, decorated veteran

Oscar Floyd Hobbs, 86, of Macclenny died January 31, 2012 at Frank Wells Nursing Home. He was born in Naylor, GA on April 20, 1925 to the late Walter Early and Flarzell Hobbs. He was a lifelong resident of Baker County and retired after many years from the Department of Transportation as a centerline crewman.

Mr. Hobbs served his country proudly in the United States Army during World War II,  earning the Purple Heart medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign (EAMETO) Medal, the French Legion of Honor Medal and the World War II Victory Medal. He enjoyed gardening, fishing and spending time with his family. Oscar was preceded in death by daughter Kathy Robertson, brother Randolph Hobbs and half-sister Vester Cribbs.

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Katherine Hicks, 81, of Bryceville

Katherine Hicks, 81, of Bryceville died January 26, 2012 in Jacksonville following a brief illness. Mrs. Hicks was born in Baker County on March 5, 1930 to the late James Eddie Rhoden and former Nellie Ellen Garrett. She was preceded in death by her husband Carroll Robert Hicks.

Survivors include daughters Sue (Frank) Everett and Linda (Jess) Vega; sons Scooter (Mary) Hicks and Joey (Shirley) Hicks; grandchildren Tim Everett; Dona Seemann, Chester (Darylann) Everett, Samantha (John) Bennett, Brett Hicks and Sarah Rushing; great-grandchildren Brandi, Falon, Sandy, April, Tyler, Gracie Katherine, Madison, Khloe and Chester; great-great-grandchildren Georgia, Bubba and Dalilah; sister Malinda (Harold) Wilson; brother-in-law Herbert Earnstine; sisters-in-law Helen Thrift and Yvonne Hart; numerous extended family and friends.

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