Helping residents of southern Illinois stay healthy is a primary focus of Southern Seven Health Department. One of the many ways they do this is by holding its annual "Tour de Seven - Fall into Fitness 5K Run/Walk."

Now in its fifth year, the Tour de Seven will be held on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 9 a.m. at the St. Mary's Park in Cairo. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Cairo Women's Shelter.

The Community Health and Emergency Service Inc. (CHESI) will be on hand to provide free blood pressure and blood sugar screenings and more through the use of their Wellness on Wheels (WOW) van.

Future plans for the Tour de Seven are to hold it in different counties within the Southern Seven region each year.

"The core of Southern Seven is our communities and the people that live within them. Alexander County and the City of Cairo are no different," said Natalie Sawyer, health education director for Southern Seven. "The city has a rich history and the people here are simply down to earth and so caring. This community is determined to keep wonderful events like the annual Blues Festival alive and make it even better each year. We are so honored to be able to host our 5K along with the Blues Festival this year. And of course, we would love to see plenty of runners at the Tour de Seven 5K this year."

Early registration for the Tour de Seven is $25. Late registration is $30. T-shirt sizes are guaranteed for participants pre-registered by Friday, Aug. 16.

Because the course is not paved, includes some rocky areas, and crosses a train track, it is not stroller or wheelchair friendly. Pets on a leash are welcome. And hydration/first aid stations will be available.

The Tour de Seven is held each year in conjunction with the Annual Cairo Blues Festival. It will start and end before the parade kick starts things off on Sept. 7. The festival is held Sept. 6-8.

To register for Tour de Seven, visit southern7.org, runsignup.org or call Bobi Cavins at 618-634-2297 or bcavins@s7hd.org.

To donate, contact Sawyer, at 618-734-4167 or nsawyer@s7hd.org.

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