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As thousands of Quad-City Times Bix 7 participants approached the finish line, stockpiles of treats, water and ice awaited. It's not easy to feed tens of thousands of people in a matter of hours, but it is possible with donations.

Businesses such as Swiss Valley Farms, Coca-Cola and Whitey's helped provide needed post-race treats, said Sharon Wachal, director of the Bix 7 post-race party.

Hostess donated more than 10,000 cupcakes, 10,000 Twinkies and 10,000 coffee cakes while also providing 2,180 pounds each of various mini-muffins. Whitey's donated popsicles, Coca-Cola pitched in with vitamin waters, soda and bottled drinking water. Schnucks provided assistance with more than 72,000 items, including drinking water.

"I've been doing this since the post-race party began," Wachal said. "We couldn't do this without the donations."

This year's party in the Quad-City Times parking lot seemed especially festive and crowded, as many racers seemed to hang around longer than usual because of the mild weather and a gentle breeze. In addition to the food and water, many runners enjoyed the music and taking pictures with each other and the costumed race participants.

Phyllis Gill, 76, dressed as Uncle Sam, has been part of the Bix 7 for 19 years and has "just enjoyed" wearing that costume over the years. Gill participated with her daughter and great-granddaughter, dressed as a mother hen and baby chick - known affectionately as the Bix Chicks. At 17 months old, "baby chick" Juliana DeToy was getting all the attention. They came in second in the group costume category, ousted by a family portrayal based on the movie "Up," complete with a cardboard house hoisted by balloons.

"I was worried last night I'd be a wet hen," said Cheryl DeToy, Juliana's grandmother. The Davenport trio participated in the 2-mile Quick Bix.

The Bix 7 continues to attract participants from around the country - and world. For Will and Molly Austin, 10, of Nashville, Ind., and friends Leah Hurwitz, 8, and Sadie Hurwitz, 10, of Evanston, Ill., their running costumes resulted from a year-long plan. As '70s dancers, the quartet had moves to accompany the music played by the KUUL-FM crew, sponsor of the costume contest. Will Austin, adorned with stick-on chest hair, sideburns and a mustache, delighted the audience with his looks, while the girls held on to tight wigs and tinted glasses as they danced.

"We have dressed up the last two years," Sadie Hurwitz said. "We went as the Black-Eyed Peas last year, so I think we'll be a group next year, too."

Other costumes included a Harry Potter family, Harry Caray, Star Wars characters (a Luke Skywalker character wielding a lightsaber took first place in the individual category), Disney movie princesses.

But for Quick Bix participants Greg and Amanda Kelly of Davenport, their first attempt to run in costumes proved to be a real winner.

"I've been doing the Bix for 24 years, and I'd never done a costume," Greg Kelly said.

His family's creative idea won the crowd's hearts and first place in the group costume category. Adorned with balloons, a yellow house and 2-year-old son Owen strapped to his back, Kelly dressed as the character Carl Fredricksen from the Disney/Pixar film, "Up." Kelly, with a red bow-tie, thick-rimmed glasses and a cane with tennis balls for traction was bombarded with photos taken by eager contest spectators.

"I really enjoyed dressing up this year," he said. While his wife, Amanda, stuck to athletic gear, 4-year-old daughter Grace dressed as an "Up" kid character and Carl's co-hort, Russell.

"Everyone keeps calling her a Boy Scout," Amanda Kelly said. "But she's a wilderness explorer."

Greg Kelly said he hopes to participate in the costume contest again next year.

"We went through second-hand stores and Goodwill to find parts for this costume," Greg Kelly said. "There's much more work involved (in costume-building) than you think."

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