CRANFORD, NJ- The Cranford Cougar Dash is gearing up for its first 5k and one-mile fun run, which will begin at 8:30 a.m. on April 2 at Nomahegan Park.

The proceeds of the dash will benefit the PTAs of Walnut Avenue School and Livingston Avenue School. The funds will be allocated to provide educational resources in the classroom, according to the Cranford Cougar Dash website.

“Our main goals for the Cranford Cougar Dash are to raise funds for educational use in our schools, to provide a fun event for the community, and to promote health, fitness, and the outdoors,” Christine Cohen, co-chair of the dash, said.

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As of March 30, 288 participants had registered for the fun run and 234 participants had registered for the 5k. Online registration is open through April 1 and runners can register in person before the race. In-person registration must be paid in cash, Cohen said.

“We are so excited by the response we have gotten from students, parents, and teachers,” Cohen said. “While most of the younger students will be participating in the fun run, we have seen some of the older students going for the 5K, which is very impressive.”

The Cranford Cougar Dash is hoping to make the event an annual tradition.

“One of the best things about living in Cranford are its annual traditions that bring the community together,” Cohen said. “We hope that the Cougar Dash will become another one of these annual traditions that we look forward to each year.”

Post-race refreshments will be provided by Track 5 Coffee, Breadsmith, and the DellaVecchia Group.

Following the race, raffles and prizes will be awarded. The dash would like to thank Alluem Yoga, Angel's Wings, Anthem, Bella Organici, Capezio, Ciao Bello, Fresh Press Juice, Jana Battiloro/Lularoe, Perrotti Quality Meats, and Sharon Steele/Coldwell Banker for their donations for prizes.

Additional groups sponsoring the event are Ambeli Greek Taverna, Cougar Headquarters, Cranford Jaycees, Karyn Keating Physical Therapy, Venture Stone & Tile, Bosonac Orthodontics, Garden State Bariatrics, MWT Builders, Statewide Fence Co. Strength & Fitness Club, Timothy Pristas/Farmers Insurance, All Pipes Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, Beth Sullivan /Coldwell Banker, Bush Landscaping, Diamond Gymnastics/Discovery Child Care, Fire Me Up Studio, Kilkenny House, NJ Wine Seller, River & Rail Cantina, Schuster Family Orthodontics, The Max of Cranford, TimberRidge Construction, and the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.