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Runners at Wednesday's Ronald McDonald House 5K received a lesson on just how fast emergency responders get to work.

The race started on Ferry St. in Buffalo at 6:30 p.m. At 6:31 p.m., a call went to 911 that a fire was spotted at Elmwood Ave. near Lafayette. By the time runners had gone on Elmwood for a couple of blocks (only a few minutes had elapsed), emergency vehicles could be seen and heard coming up Elmwood. Very impressive.

A few runners on Bidwell Parkway were stopped to make room for an emergency vehicle, but the brief interruption wasn't much of an inconvenience - especially under the circumstances. Some runners reported they did smell smoke while running.

Let's hope that this weekend's races will be have clear sailing. This list is from buffalorunners.com:

* Taste of Lancaster - Fire Fighters for Food 5K Run, 1 Pleasant Ave. in Lancaster, 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, 684-4818. The beginning and end bring back memories of the July 4 run. In between, I get to run past my late father's workplace and wave as a little tribute.

* Beer & Bacon 5000, 5K, Island Park in Williamsville, 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, 390-5703. There could be a speech about how bacon and running aren't natural allies. However, since most races serve hot dogs or pizza in postrace parties, you'd have to say bacon is more of a change of pace in this case.

* Pennies to Heaven, 5K, 767 Ridge Road in Lackawanna, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, 863-2684. This twisty race has a new day of the week, moving to Saturday night.

* St. Christopher Summerfest 5K, 2660 Niagara Falls Blvd. in Tonawanda, 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, 216-4103. Two Saturday night races at the same time? That's very unusual.

* Tofurky Trot, 5K, Rose Garden at Delaware Park in Buffalo, 11 a.m. Sunday, 348-8346. It's part of the WNY VegFest. Bacon probably won't be on the menu.

* Telegraph Road Race, Bates and Telegraph Road in Medina, 2 p.m. Sunday, 549-5100. This novel concept for a race has survived for a few years. Runners put on headphones and listen to "Telegraph Road" by Dire Straits while running on Telegraph Road. When the music stops (14 minutes and 18 seconds), they stop. I have the song on my mp3 player, and it's good company.

-- Budd Bailey