Gary ran track back in his high school days, but didn’t enjoy it much. It wasn’t until he met his future wife (already a serious local runner) and they went on their first trail run together that he became a running junkie. When she convinced him heading up near Mt. Hood to do the X-Dog Events‘ McCubbins Gulch Scramble he decided to join in and fell even further in love with the adventure/trail running phenomena.
They (like almost all Willamette Valley area runners) soon realized that the trail running events in the Salem and surrounding areas are limited, even thought the running community in Salem is pretty large and growing. The trail running events that were in Oregon were chock full of Northwest runners, but still had a depressed number of Mid-Willamette Valley participants. Gary and Shandi created Run Wild Adventures in 2009 to share their running adventures (and trail running addiction) with friends, family with the hope to eventually expand to the local community.
2009 was definitely an exhausting year for Gary and Shandi and getting a running company off the ground was quite the experience. They set up their own website from scratch (no fancy web designers) and sought after sponsors and support to assist with finding appropriate venues for events. Next was the purchase of equipment: Banners, signs, flagging, race clock, computer timing software, PA system, food prep supplies, EZ UP tents, tables, chairs and the list goes on and on! Their first race stands out in their minds as their greatest accomplishment, and shows that if you love something enough and put your heart and soul in to it, it can get done!
All along the way, the primary goal and mission statement set forth was to provide a fun, inexpensive and enjoyable experience! They wanted to provide online registration, online confirmed entrants list, print immediate race results for participants and post all event photos and results online the same day! They also wanted to have new and exciting places for trail run events. They have succeeded in all these areas. Their race prices are kept extremely low, the registration process is easy, and they are constantly canvasing the Willamette Valley and putting on races in some unique and beautiful locations.
Their most difficult (and memorable) times through Run Wild Adventures have been dealing with the unpredictable weather and conditions during the winter months. They have dealt with over 14″ of snow, rain storms, downed trees due to high winds, and floods. But they put up with all of that because of all those smiling (and mud covered) faces crossing the finish line. And they truly go out of their way to accommodate the runners. They hand make all of the awards and provide an inviting atmosphere in each and every race.
Gary and Shandi are great supporters of the local running community and love the Willamette Valley Road Runners events. From their Cascade Half to participating in their summer cross-country series, they are very appreciative of everything WVRR do for the sport! They are also appreciative of the participants, volunteers, friends, families, and sponsors that help make their races a success! And don’t forget their local sponsors of: Gallagher Fitness Resources, Montrail, Mountain Hardwear, Hammer Nutrition, Great Harvest Bread, Silver Falls Coffee, Nine22 Photography, Fox Printing, EZ Orchards, and Seven Brides Brewing.
The running season for Run Wild Adventures is over, but they will be back on September 20, 2014 with their inaugural South Santiam Half Marathon!