Hundreds of holiday-spirited runners and walkers responded to the call Saturday to participate in the "Run, Santa, Run" 5K Run/Walk and Kids' Fun Run.

The event started and finished under bright, sunny skies at Young's Field in New Milford.

Proceeds from the event, hosted by St. Peter's Lodge No. 21 Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of New Milford, will benefit the American Diabetes Association and Masonicare.

"It's important for people to realize that we need to make efforts to get out and move," said race director Bill Buckbee. "Walk, run ¦. do what you can to stay healthy."

"We've added Masonicare this year as an additional recipient as we want to assist with those less able to provide for themselves later in life," he added. "We feel it's a great complement to the existing program."

Participants were encouraged to wear costumes -- this year's event features a Star Wars theme -- and walkers were welcomed.

Toys to be donated to "Toys for Tots" were accepted in lieu of payment for the Kids' Fun Run.

For race results or more information, visit www.runsantarun.org.

For more photos,, see updates at www.newmilfordspectrum.com.

Norm Cummings

Photography by Norm Cummings