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Backyard Half marathon hits White Salmon June 16

— Hilltop scenic views of the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood and Mount Adams will be the sought-after reward for many runners and hikers above White Salmon on Saturday June 16th at the Backyard Half Marathon.

The running and hiking course starts and finishes at the Rhinegarten Park in downtown White Salmon. The course is 13.1 miles with 12 miles of trails that loop up and around Hospital Hill with 1800 feet of elevation gain.

The Backyard Half is a free run/hike with a suggested donation of $10 or more to help fund the Columbia High School Cross Country Team. It has grown from 24 participants the first year to 204 participants last year.

The run would not be possible without the cooperation of many, including the area landowners graciously granting permission to access their land for the event. The event is run entirely on private property.

Because of businesses donations by ICE, Everybody’s Brewing, Charter Communication, Radcomp, Killer Burger, Shortt Supply, Cascade Alaskan Malamutes, Spaeth Design Works and Skyline Physical Therapy, 100 percent of the participants’ donations will go to the cross county team.

This fall will be the start of the third season for the self-funded cross country team, and with the donations from the Backyard Half Marathon participants, the athletes will continue to enjoy the experiences that the sport is able to offer. The cross country team will be assisting in directing runners on the course, helping at the start and finish, and staffing the aid stations throughout the race.

The wide community support for cross country has helped the team create a successful start. In 2010, the girls team qualified for the state meet along with Brad Rich as an individual qualifier.

The event starts at 10 a.m. and is FREE but a suggested donation of $10 or more is requested to support the third year of Columbia High Schools self-funded Cross Country Team. Additional information can be found at www.columbiagorgerunningclub.com or by contacting Allan Dushan at aldushan@yahoo.com.

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