Colorado State University veterinary students celebrate spring while benefiting animals that come to the Veterinary Medical Center in need of emergency, life saving treatments with the annual Fast and the Furriest 5K race. The 5K run or walk proceeds go to the Companion Care Fund, which helps community members pay for life-saving or emergency procedures performed at the center if they have exhausted all other payment options.

The 5K race and 1K kids run is slated for 9 a.m. Saturday, April 18 at a new location — the historic Oval on the Colorado State campus. The new race route goes through campus and follows the same route the 5K Homecoming Race. The race is sponsored by the Professional Veterinary Medical Class of 2011.

Race participants are encouraged to participate in the race along with their well-behaved pets; goats, iguanas, cats, bunnies and ducks, along with many dogs, have competed in previous years. Any pet weighing less than 500 pounds is welcome.

The family-oriented day includes a 1K walk/run for children at 10 a.m. and free face painting. The dog and runner expo will take place from 9 a.m. – noon and will feature a booth providing free nail trimming for dogs and cats; an obedience and agility training organization, Progressive School for Dogs, giving demonstrations; and a professional pet photographer, Heidi Mueller,  taking photos of racers and their pets which will be available for purchase. Educational booths for pet owners also will be on hand at the race, along with booths offering food and drinks.

Bog Spavin, a band comprised of veterinary students from Colorado State, will provide live music after the race. Local radio station 99.9 the Point will also broadcast live from the Oval.

Awards and prizes will be given to the top three men and women overall and the top finishers with pets. Separate prizes for pets including the fastest finisher, the furriest finisher and the smallest finisher will also be awarded.

The Companion Care Fund is entirely need-based and is reserved solely for community members. Without the financial assistance provided by the fund, many clients would be faced with the difficult choice of declining care for their animal or relinquishing ownership. The Companion Care Fund provides hope for both owners and their animals in need.

More information about the race is available at  Race pre-registration is available at local Fort Collins locations including the Runner’s Roost and Foot of the Rockies. Online registration is available at Pre-registration closes on April 16 but race-day registration is available on-site from 7 – 8:45 a.m. Packet pick-up for online registrations is available 7 -9 a.m. on-site the day of the race.

The race is $20 for students with a valid ID, $22 for adults and $10 for children 7-12 years old.   Children 6 and under are free.  Registration includes a T-shirt with a new design.