Lightning cancels 10 kilometer run

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Fear of lightning forced organizers this morning to cancel the 10-kilometer run for Take Stock in Children.

Hundreds of runners huddled under overhangs of businesses along Lakewood Ranch Main Street waiting for the weather to clear and the hoped-for 7:30 a.m. race start.

At first it seemed that the weather would clear.

"The kids and the die-hards are here," said Jahna Leinhauser, one the runners, as the rain came to a near-halt and lightning moved into the distance.

But a weather report showed another band of weather arriving within the hour, carrying more lightning.

Diana Dill, director of Take Stock in Children, announced that the run had been cancelled "out of an abundance of caution." There would still be runners on the course in an hour and the risk was too great, she said.

Among those disappointed in the rainout was Leo Zavala, 18, a student at Palmetto High School, who was able to run after losing 75 pounds. He credited Take Stock in Children with helping get his life on a good track, and has been accepted as a student at Florida State University.