This past weekend, I packed up and left the family at home so I could go run for Ethiopian orphans at the Run for Ahope. In addition to raising money for this amazing cause, the run was organized by an 8th grade student as her “Senior Project.” When it’s a race put on by a student for a great cause, you can always count on me to sign up!
Ally Plombon put this race on, working with mentors and advisors to get through every step from selecting the venue, writing and publishing the website, recruiting volunteers and runners, collecting donations, and making 20+ red arrows to mark the course. The run was on Sunday, May 21 at Brown’s Ferry Park in Tualatin, a park I’ve run by with the Portland Marathon Clinic but never in – and I was impressed by the trail loops that wove in and out of treed areas, around a pond, and offered plenty of shade. If you’ve never run there, it would be easy to run a few loops to add up to a 3-5 mile route.
For the Run for Ahope (which was only $20, but additional donations were accepted), the course started near the main pavilion and made a loop around the pond before running behind the old barn and then back up to Nyberg Lane. We ran on the sidewalk for a short section, then back through the start to run the loop again. It was definitely hotter than it has been lately, but the variety of sidewalk, paved path, wooden bridge, and gravel trail kept things interesting and the shaded sections helped keep things interesting.
The field was fairly small, and an even mix of runners and walkers. The youngest participant was 4 years old, and he seemed to be having a blast at the start, lucky enough to have both his mom and dad on the adventure with him. The race was really low-key; no bibs or timing clock, but there was plenty of water and snacks for finishers (including chocolate chip cookies that one volunteer had renamed “refueling discs”). All participants were invited to take home an “I ran for Ahope” pin.
I hope other students are inspired by Ally and continue to put on events – maybe even Ally herself will plan another one – and I hope other Run Oregon readers join me at the next one!