New race day: Homer Classic moves to Sunday

August 2012 Posted in Other

By Dixon BledsoeSilverton\'s Homer Classic takes to the country roads for a run to benefit cross country teams.

“Two years ago, while the race was in progress, a convoy of tanks and military vehicles drove down James Street to get to the parade staging area. It was bizarre and frightening to see runners weaving between the tanks, trying to get back to the finish line,” Steve Ritchie recalled.

Ritchie, co-director of the Homer Classic fun run scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 5, knew some changes had to be made, especially where the safety of participants was concerned.

The 2011 event, which drew close to 250 runners and walkers, had a few close calls with people and vehicles lining up on James Street for the Homer Davenport Community Festival parade, always held on the Saturday of the three-day event.

“For the last several years, we have worked very hard to coordinate traffic flow with parade organizers and the police. Despite the best efforts of our Silverton Police Department, James Street again became a parking lot last year – traffic was backed up many blocks in all directions,” Ritchie said.

“I have given up trying to do this event on parade day. We are switching to Sunday, Aug. 5 so that our runners can do the 8K and 2 mile races without having to run on a street resembling an LA Freeway,” Ritchie said.

The course includes the historic Gallon House Bridge.

This year’s race will once again be a fund-raiser for both the Kennedy and Silverton high schools’ cross country teams, and organizers expect to net between $2,000 and $3,000. Sponsors cover most of the expenses, so profit depends primarily upon turnout.

Ritchie would like to hit the 300-participant mark for the first time this year.

He is not without help and a lot of support. Erik Cross, Silverton High’s cross country coach is co-director.

“We have a small but very dedicated group of volunteers who help with this event year after year – Erik Cross, Joe Craig, Matt Bauman, Rick Stucky, Hilary and John Cornwell, Susan Murray, Tom Bauman, Dar Wavra, Daryl Rowse, Jenelle Gasper, to name a few. Also, SHS senior Micah White is doing this as his senior project and is helping with legwork,” Ritchie said.

As race manager and co-director, Ritchie is glad to carry the torch.

“This is a nice community tradition that has so far spanned 30 years. Amy Castle coordinated it for nearly 13 years, Joanne Stewart for a couple of years, and I have done it since 1999. I am really grateful for Erik’s help in sharing the load.”

When asked why he does it, the answer is simple and straightforward. “We need runs like this to motivate people to keep exercising, keep running or walking. It’s a big issue for me. Our country needs to get healthier and more fit. This is one small

thing I can do to help. I like all ages to compete.”

Register on-line at www.racenorthwest.com or pick up an entry form at Silverton Fitness. The cost is $15 in advance or $20 on race day. Technical dryfit t-shirts, with a design by Ritchie’s daughter, Shea, who has designed the Homer t-shirt for the past 14 years since she was 18, are available for $12. She is a professional graphic designer and art director for a media company.

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