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      Community runners lace up for a K-9 cause

      COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) -- Members of the community laced up their shoes Saturday evening for the Richland County Sheriff's Department K-9 Unit.

      The second annual "Guardians of the Night" K-9 5K run was a huge success according to Sheriff Leon Lott.

      The race drew in a crowd of more than twice the runners from last year, and they raised 10,000 dollars.

      The run began Saturday night at 9pm at the Village at Sandhill.

      According to the Richland County Sheriff's Department there are currently 16 dogs that make up their K-9 unit.

      Sarah Allers was among many who participated in the 5K. Her and her husband have been training for the last 8 months and were about to take some time off, but Allers had to participate in one last race.

      "I was enticed by the actual course of the race tonight, and to have the dogs more protected. I originally hadn't thought about doing another hot sticky summer race," said Allers.

      Allers also said that she was saddened by the death of Fargo, a member of the K-9 unit who was shot in the line of duty last December.

      Fargo's former handler Master Deputy Warren Cavenagh was also at the race, and said last year the two participated in it together.

      "Last years race, I ran in full gear with him in his full gear as well," said Cavenagh.

      All of the dogs in the K-9 Unit with the exception of one are trained in 2 or more of the following specialties:narcotics,tracking,and apprehension or explosives.