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Rainy runs raise funds

It’s just one little fun run, but it helps students throughout the school year.

This year’s “Trick or Trot” event at Wy’east Middle School and Harvest Hustle at Mid Valley Elementary raise funds that enable the kids to have special programs that the district otherwise couldn’t afford.

The Trick or Trot raises funds for Wy’east’s PE program, says Adam Howell, who teaches PE at Wy’east with co-teacher Ashlie Keimig.

“Our windsurfing gets paid for out of this; we’re taking our kids for swimming lessons at the aquatic center,” Howell said. “We’re trying to coordinate with the mountain (Mt. Hood Meadows) to take them skiing this year; we do archery here in our PE classes and we’re the only school in the district that has it.”

Howell said that the event, which had been done as a “jog-a-thon” in years past, was on hiatus when he first came on board at the school four years ago. When Keimig started a year later, the two were asked whether they’d be interested in bringing it back.

“We said, ‘Absolutely!’” Howell said. “We brought it back for the first time last year, in June, and called it ‘Run into Summer,’ — and it was pouring rain!” he said. “We decided that since things were so crazy and hectic at the end of the year, we’d look at doing it in the fall this year, so things just kind of fell into place that Halloween was wide open.”

Letters were sent home with the kids in early October followed by the pledge envelopes a couple of weeks later, and the kids collect pledges up until the event, and for a couple of weeks after that. The more pledges the kids collect, the more raffle tickets they earn to have a better chance at some donated prizes.

On the day of the event, each grade, starting with eighth-graders in first period, first met in the gym for instructions and then proceeded to the track, where they were instructed to take as many laps as they could, earning a drinking straw with each half lap.

“We’d done some individual goal planning for them, so it was a move-at-your-own-pace thing; we didn’t have a strict requirement as to number of straws to collect,” Howell said. “It was, ‘Do the best you can.’”

It was a rainy day, but the rain did nothing to dampen the kids’ spirits. Since it was Halloween, many of them ran in costume. Afterwards, they returned to the gym to report their total laps and enjoy snacks and socializing.

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Rain also fell the day of Mid Valley’s Harvest Hustle, Saturday, Nov. 3, but there was a respectable turnout nonetheless for the kids’ fun run and 5K/10K runs, which this year welcomed bicycles for the first time.

This was the fifth annual Harvest Hustle, which has a springtime counterpart at the school, the Blossom Boogie. Both events, which offer T-shirts to early registrants, raise funds for the Mid Valley PTO.

The schools aren’t the only ones with fitness events and programs — Parkdale Elementary’s recent fun run on Oct. 27, May Street and Hood River Middle School’s “bike and walk to school” events and the Mighty Milers program are just a few that come to mind — but they both have the dual benefits of increasing fitness and raising needed funds.

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