People across the West Coast celebrated the Fourth of July, Mount Shasta-style ... sort of

Skye Kinkade
Mount Shasta Herald
Because Mount Shasta's Fourth of July race was conducted virtually in 2021, people participated from all over the West Coast, and sent photos of themselves to Mountain Runners enjoying their event t-shirts. "Hi from San Jose," said Cindy Schultz. "I hope we can gather together next year, but was happy to support your beautiful community. And, I love this year's design."

People from all over the West Coast came together in spirit on Sunday to celebrate the Fourth of July, Mount Shasta style.

The popular Fourth of July Walk/Run was – for the second year in a row – conducted virtually, said Siskiyou Outdoor Recreation Alliance executive director Justi Hansen, who directs the race for Mountain Runners. 

Participants ran or walked their chosen course – either two miles or five miles – from wherever they were in the world on July 4 and then submitted their results to the organizers via the Mount Shasta Walk/Run website, Hansen explained. 

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Of those who did so, 43-year-old Jec Bellou of Soquel, California had the fastest time of 36:02 in the 5-mile race. Second place went to Jerod Schwab, age 34 of Yreka, who finished in 40 minutes flat; and in third place was 44-year-old Ray Olmos of Irvine, with a time of 41:12.

In the 2-mile youth run, 11-year-old Reed Ritter of Mount Shasta came in first place, with a time of 25 minutes. Second place went to 9-year-old Siena Ritter of Mount Shasta with a time of 31:35, followed by third place finisher Sophia Vargas, age 9, of Mount Shasta finishing with a time of 51:59.

Jennifer Saavedra submitted this photo of herself participating in Sunday's Mount Shasta Fourth of July run/walk, which was held virtually.

One raffle winner was randomly selected out of all the participants this year. The winner was Jerri Nielsen from Mount Shasta, who won a Giant Mountain Bike donated by the Fifth Season and a YETI cooler donated by Ace Hardware.

"We're lucky to have the online platform so we can keep the momentum going until next year, when the plan is to, once again, have a full-on event," said Hansen. 

Although there were about 100 fewer people signed up for this year's virtual event than there were in 2020, Hansen said things went smoothly on her end.

"If we had decided to go through with the in-person race this year, (Mountain Runners) could have lost a lot of money," said Hansen. Even though the situation with COVID-19 has eased in Siskiyou County, the race could have been canceled due to poor air quality from the nearby Lava Fire. 

"These are crazy times ... we're just trying to keep it together and look forward to next  year," Hansen said.

Mount Shasta's signature Fourth of July Run/Walk was founded in 1980 by the late Dr. Jim Parker. It usually attracts thousands of people to the little town to enjoy a "parade in reverse" on the morning of July 4. The 2020 race was the first time in 40 years the event had to be canceled for any reason.

Proceeds from this event will benefit the following local youth sports groups and organizations. Sponsors included  Berryvale Grocery, Ramshaw's Ace Hardware, Dignity Health Mt. Shasta, Grocery Outlet, and Owens Healthcare.

Here's where to find all the 2021 Mount Shasta Fourth of July race results

For a full list of all the race winners, go to this link.

Skye Kinkade is the editor of the Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers and the Siskiyou Daily News. She is a fourth generation, lifelong Siskiyou County resident.