The setting was ideal Saturday, Oct. 14, for the 12th annual Run to Read, said Dawn Kitchell, one of the organizers.

Temperatures were in the 70s, and the crowd of more than 225 gathered at the Washington Public Library to run, walk and dash — all for the cause of literacy.

The Run to Read, organized by The Missourian and the Four Rivers Family YMCA, offered readers of all ages a new, hardback book in exchange for a little exercise. Participants had the opportunity to run a 5K route or stroll a 1-mile path through Downtown Washington reading the pages of a book at each block.

The age 6 and under set sprinted a short route to waiting medals in the Baby Buzz Dash.

Minnesota author Tracy Nelson Maurer, whose book “John Deere, That’s Who!” was a Missourian Book Buzz Pick in August, was the featured speaker. She shared background on the book and her goal to write nonfiction books that aren’t boring.

After reading the book, she led the audience in a song about John Deere.

The Missourian’s book-loving mascot, Newsbee, and the Washington Police Department’s McGruff the Crime Dog, helped present awards to top finishers in the 5K run.

Those receiving Newsbee trophies for first-place overall finishes are: Youth Girl, Elizabeth Scheperle; Youth Boy, Gabel Ohm; Teen Girl, Becca Davis; Teen Boy, Todd Bobo; Adult Female, Krista Williams; and Adult Male, John Cash.

Awards for the first educators to cross the finish line went to Krista Williams, a teacher at Washington High School, and Aaron Hallien, a teacher at Immanuel Lutheran School.

Fifteen schools were represented at this year’s Run to Read. The Newsbee trophy for the school with the most participation went home with New Haven Elementary.

For complete results from the 5K run, visit A photo gallery from the event also is posted online.

The Washington High School Cross Country Team volunteered on the 5K run route and the Washington Middle School Student Council displayed pages of Maurer’s book along the 1-mile story stroll.

A water station for runners at the halfway point in the route was hosted by the Washington West Elementary Girls on the Run Club.

After the fitness, participants had the opportunity to choose from hundreds of hard-back books published in the past year. The books, donated by The Missourian, were collected through its book programs — Baby Buzz, Book Buzz, Novel Ideas and the MOBooks Blog.

Sponsors for this year’s Run to Read were Michael Wood & Associates and NuStar Energy, along with the Y Spirit Series sponsors: Citizens Bank, Sugarfire Smoke House, Stefanina’s Pizzeria and Restaurant, Marquart’s Landing, Atlas 45, Bank of Washington, American Family Insurance, LPL Financial, Brown’s Shoe Center, Genfinity Wealth Management and Imo’s Pizza.