By Mary Owen
Regis High School counselor Mike Bauer sees people running everywhere.
“Health and fitness in the Santiam Canyon is exploding,” said Bauer, also a member of the Stayton Road Runners. “Running is such a user-friendly activity. You just need a pair of shoes!”
Many Canyon running events provide opportunities for health enthusiasts and budding athletes to “do their thing.”
These include: Roaring Race, Scio, January; Cascade Half Marathon, Turner, January; Fool Your Fat 5K Walk/Run, Stayton, April; Scio Lamb Trot, Scio, May; Stayton Sprint Triathlon, Stayton, May; Fourth of July Old-Fashioned Road Run, Stayton, July; Aumsville Corn Festival Fun Run, Aumsville, August; Sublimity Road Run, Sublimity, September; Jeff Silbernagel Memorial Run, Lyons, October; Detroit Lake Mud Run, Detroit Lake, October; and Shellburg Falls Trail Run Adventure, Lyons, December.
“For the past 23 years, Santiam Memorial Hospital has enjoyed hosting its SMH Annual Fun Run & Health Walk,” said Marketing Coordinator Lauren Benjamin, referring to the event which will be held June 2. “The sole incentive of this event is to promote health and fitness in our communities. Together with the Stayton Road Runners, the goal is to kick off the summer in a fun, healthy and active way.”
Alyssa Angelo with the city of Stayton said the Stayton Family Memorial Pool was able to purchase a “lot dock” for toddler/preschool swim lessons and goal nets for open swim with funds raised from the annual Stayton Sprint Triathlon.
“Our event is also a great way to promote health and activity in our community,” Angelo said. “Keeping our community members healthy and active is important to us, and to encourage them to get moving by participating in our event is a great way to get them involved.”
The 2011 and 2012 events drew participants from Stayton and surrounding communities, including Sublimity, Lyons, Aumsville and Silverton, according to Angelo.
“We love that our local citizens rose to the challenge of competing, and many were first-time participants!” said Angelo, who credits premier sponsor Stayton Community Telephone Co. and other sponsors for the event’s success. “Our event staff received many positive comments, and the Triathlon was a great way for people to really embrace their fitness goals.”
Running is more popular than ever, Bauer said, and Regis High School’s track is a magnet for people who enjoy the activity.
“Regis is open and accessible to the community – track, baseball fields, buildings,” Bauer said. “We are very community-minded.”
An issue facing Regis currently is the need to resurface its 400-meter, eight-lane track, last upgraded in 1995, Bauer said.
“We got 15 really good years of life out of that track,” he added. “Now it is rapidly deteriorating. The school board agreed that it is time to upgrade the track with a quality surface and provide additional improvements to our track and field facilities. We want it to last and serve the needs of the community for many years to come.”
To help raise funds to upgrade the Regis track, Regis and St. Mary Catholic School students recently held a Health and Fitness Fun Day, pledging an hour of jogging or walking around the track.
The track serves both schools as well as athletes training for other sports, Regis PE classes, annual community events such as the Stayton Area Relay for Life, Boy Scouts, YMCA and Special Olympics, as well as regular community walkers, joggers and athletes of all ages and abilities.
“Use of the facility has literally saved our relay thousands of dollars,” said Sue Harteloo, chair of Relay for Life. “It has helped us put that much more money into patient services and research.”
Local runner Debi Bryant said, “There’s a group of women who get out there at 5 o’clock and have been doing it for years!”
The Regis track has been “home” to such notables as Craig Gries, who took second in state in javelin as a senior, and Jaclyn Espinoza, an ’06 graduate who earned a scholarship to Notre Dame after making it to nationals all four years of high school, a first-time feat for any Regis track athlete.
“The track is a tremendous community resource,” Bauer said. “We’re now a little over 11 months into the project, and our community has responded generously. With bighearted gifts from Oregon State Bridge Construction, North Santiam Paving and more than $140,000 in donations ranging from grants to individuals, we’re nearly two-thirds of the way to our total goal of $300,000.”
To contribute or for more information, call Regis High School at 503-769-2159.