OGDEN -- Damian Lira and Shane Blanch were spotted running from the police Saturday afternoon, but it was for a good cause.
The two were taking part in a fundraiser to help the families of six police officers involved in a Jan. 4 shooting in Ogden. Jared Francom was killed, and five other officers were wounded.
The Cops and Robbers Challenge was held at Pioneer Stadium for the first time Saturday, and organizers plan for it to become an annual event.
Runners chose whether to dress up as a cop or as a robber.
"I chose to be a robber because we get a two-minute head start in the race," Lira said.
Blanch said he wanted to experience what it was like to "run from the cops."
The event began with a 5K race in which the "robbers" got a two-minute head start as they ran through the Ogden River Parkway and past Francom's gravesite in the Ogden City Cemetery.
The run was followed by an obstacle course that included hurdles, tire jumping, mud crawling and sandbag pulling. Two big tires painted pink and white resembled doughnuts the participants had to climb over.
Alma Palmer, of Ogden, said he started out as a robber but switched over to the side of the police midway through.
"I heard about the event on Facebook, and I thought it would be a nice thing to participate in," he said.
"I was standing on Washington Boulevard during Officer Francom's funeral procession, and it was very touching."
Miliama Sooaemalelagi said she participated in the race because she works in the juvenile system. She said she wants kids to know how important it is to show respect toward law enforcement.
"They need to have a positive attitude and learn ways to stay off the streets."
Champ Neff, 7, came dressed as a bank robber. "My dad is a police officer in Bountiful, so I thought it would be fun to be a robber."
In addition to helping the families affected by the shooting, a portion of the proceeds will help sponsor a future police officer through the Utah Peace Officers Standards and Training Academy.
Future proceeds will be used to establish a lasting scholarship and medical fund available to officers and their families.
Event founder Jess McClelland said he hopes the annual event will help the community remember Francom and his ultimate sacrifice.
"Our hope is that the Cops and Robbers Challenge will memorialize a fallen police officer who was our friend and a father," he said. "This event will contribute good to the community."
Cops and Robbers Challenge is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt charitable organization. To donate, call 801-580-9314 or email email@example.com.