Well organized, friendly Run for Food

Lauren Steinheimer
Scott Durbin running for food, so to speak, during the 2014 Run for Food 5K Run/Walk at College of the Siskiyous Thanksgiving day.

Before feasting and celebrating with loved ones this Thanksgiving, I had the pleasure of participating in the fourth annual Weed Run for Food 5K Run/Walk. After arriving at College of the Siskiyous, I was quickly impressed by how well organized and friendly the volunteers were, and couldn’t have asked for better weather. Although it was about 50 degrees and sunny, some of the veteran runners seemed to be a bit overdressed due to the frosty temperatures during last year’s race.

Runners and walkers congregated around the starting line at the COS track at around 8:45 a.m. Coffee, cocoa, and breads were provided for a little extra race fuel, but Weed resident Scott Durbin brought his own snack.

Durbin entertained the crowd by jogging up and down the track while chasing a hot dog that he had hooked onto a fishing rod and attached to the bicycle helmet he was wearing. He literally exemplified “Run for Food,” while soothing any pre-race jitters with his goofy humor. Durbin didn’t run the full 5K course, which took a nice off-road break to meander through nearby trails before returning to the college track. However, I passed him on the track during the final stretch of the race, still donning his hot dog helmet, and he claimed to have run a full mile that way.

This was my first time running what many other participants consider a Thanksgiving tradition. Not only does the 5K help to rev up your metabolism before indulging in a feast of gratitude, The Run for Food also helps to feed the less fortunate. All proceeds from the event go to benefit Siskiyou Food Assistance, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing emergency food supplies to those in need.

The 2014 Run for Food raised approximately $4,000 from 190 participants.

Of those 190 race participants, I saw many children running and walking on Thanksgiving morning. Run for Food coordinator Denise Spayd said because Siskiyou Food Assistance focuses on nutrition and a healthier lifestyle, its board of directors voted to allow children under the age of 11 to register free of charge and: “Twelve went home with medals and big smiles.”

Awards were given to the top three male and female finishers in each age group, including several age groups for children. The top male finisher was Peter Cooper of Oakland with a time of 20:00. The top female was Zoe Davidson of Half Moon Bay in 21:12.

I was thrilled to finish first in my age group after recovering from a recent foot injury.

More snacks and beverages were supplied and distributed by some of the many volunteers.

“Although the gross profit amount was less than the goal this year, the event brought out many more volunteers to help,” said Spayd. “Over 65 volunteers came out to set up equipment, register participants, cheer them on, take photos, sell t-shirts, time participants, provide refreshments and clean up. We are rich in community support, and money can’t buy that.”

As a runner, I truly appreciate all the effort put forth by the volunteers, who made the experience smooth, easy and fun. Race director (and 2011 top finisher) Jack Leiffer and his son Jake and wife Susie all helped to put on a well-organized Thanksgiving Day race. I had a wonderful time and am looking forward to running the Weed Run for Food 5K again next Thanksgiving.