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Breaking an ankle 10 weeks ago wasn’t enough to stop Anna Myers from running in Saturday’s Annadel Half Marathon in Santa Rosa.

Myers and her husband, Al, acknowledged they planned to take a slower pace for this year’s 13.1-mile run, a footrace that includes grueling climbs but also offers participants the chance to pass wildflowers, redwoods and oak woodlands in Annadel State Park.

Despite the recent injury, Myers still wanted to take part in her fourth half-marathon in the park. A big draw was the camaraderie with fellow members of her race training group, among whom the Myerses of Healdsburg are affectionately known as “the Double A’s,” thanks to their first names.

The group, said Anna Myers, includes “some of the best friends we’ve ever had.”

Four hundred runners gathered Saturday morning at Sonoma County’s Spring Lake Regional Park for the half-marathon and a new 5K run. Both events raised money to maintain trails in local parks.

Sponsors first dreamed up the fundraising event in 2010, a year when California’s elected leaders were considering budget cuts that would close some state parks, including Annadel. A closure never came, but the half-marathon continues and has provided more than $40,000 for trail work.

The event has become the main fundraiser to maintain trails in Annadel, said Jim Wells, executive director of the Sonoma County Trails Council. And for the past five years, parks officials have turned over essentially all the upkeep for Annadel’s paths to the trails council’s volunteers.

“When the state stepped back,” Wells said, “we stepped up.”

New this year was a 5K run that took place mostly near Spring Lake. That event is part of the Underfoot run series started last fall to showcase and benefit various county parks. The next run in the series is slated for May 30, with the location yet to be announced.

The 5K run proceeds will pay for work at Taylor Mountain Park in southeast Santa Rosa, said Melissa Kelley, executive director of the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation, the nonprofit that supports the local parks.

“We’re raising money to build more trails,” Kelley said.

The mood seemed lighthearted before the runners lined up for the half-marathon starting gun at 8 a.m. Al Myers called “Love your shoes” to a runner wearing reddish-orange Brooks Cascadias, a pair identical to the ones on his own feet.

Even after lining up, the runners took time to sing “Happy Birthday” to Rhonda Roman, the owner of Fleet Feet Sports Santa Rosa, a run sponsor.

Fleet Feet organizes the half-marathon training group to which the Myerses belong. For years, the groups have been known for social interaction as well as physical preparation.

“We’ve had best friends and marriages come out of those training groups — and kids,” Roman said.

The top finishers for both runs Saturday all reside in Santa Rosa. The first person to cross the finish line for the half-marathon was Tyler Gray with a time of 1 hour, 26 minutes, 55 seconds. The first woman was Kate Papadopoulos at 1:43:48.

For the 5K, David Lewis finished in 20 minutes, 13 seconds. The first female was Strawberry Elementary School sixth-grader Lael Joseph at 23:13.

What the runners and the trail crew volunteers share is an appreciation for the parks’ beauty, Wells said.

“We’re all just pulling together because we love this place,” he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Robert Digitale at 521-5285 or robert.digitale@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @rdigit

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