By J.L. Haler
Music, dancing, kids laughing, bouncy castles, ice cream, photo booths, costumed runners, and the sun shining. Who could ask for a better day? This was the second year my son ran in the Monster Mash Dash for Specialized Needs Recreation.
I've said it before, but the running community in this area is a wonderful group. I have never seen anything but support, encouragement, and fun had by the participants, volunteers, and spectators. My son is the runner of the family, it seems to be his stress release. And not just a short jaunt, he prefers long distance running. So we tend to hit all the fun runs in the area. The rest of us are happy spectators. One thing to remember about the fun runs in the area is that they don't have to be runs. Often there are fun walkers. And sometimes fun dancers.
The runs are all amazing in different ways, but the Monster Mash Dash is one of my favorites. The proceeds from the race go to Specialized Needs Recreation, a non-profit that offers recreational activities for kids and adults with developmental and physical disabilities. Team Hoyt CDA, a non-profit, was there as well. Runners pushed racing wheelchairs filled with joyful men and women. Everyone thrilled to participate.
And what makes this a blast to watch is the costumes roaming around. Last year we saw two fully suited Storm Troopers, weapons playing the classic Storm Trooper music (upper pic.), and this year I watched a T-Rex cross the finish line (Lower pic. my son, not the T-Rex. Confusing, I know.). You have to love a race that leaves everyone with smiles and laughter. And there's no way to spend a better day than helping others.
What makes this one of my favorite races is the sheer joy emanating from everyone. If you get a chance to next year, make sure to check out the Monster Mash Dash. I guarantee you won't be able to leave without a smile on your face.
P.S. Did you notice the drastic attire difference from last year to this year? Just an example of what it means to live in the great Inland Northwest. Never count on a certain temperature!
April 23, 2018
Written by J.L. Haler
It’s that time of year again. The weather is warming up, then cooling, then hot, then snowing. Flowers are blooming, and the Spring Dash is on. It’s spring in North Idaho!
United Way of North Idaho hosts the Spring Dash fun run/walk. This is a five miler instead of the usual 5K.
It was a bright and sunny morning down at McEuen. But a biting cold wind was blowing in off the lake giving that wonderful mixture of confusing weather we get here. Great for the athletes to keep them cool but made it chilly for us bystanders. This was our third Spring Dash. My son is the runner of the family and since he did his first fun run, at ten years of age three years ago, he does most of the local runs. He can’t get enough of them.
The sun shone down on us all, kids were playing at the park, athletes were warming up, people were milling around chatting, and others were running to the bathroom lines (no one wants to need a bathroom break in the middle of a run. :) ). The atmosphere was positive and fun. Many walkers and runners dress up in outfits for the fun runs and those are always a blast to look at. I love seeing the costumes people come up with.
We had a first this year. We got all the way down to McEuen, parked the car, and then realized my son had left his race bib at home. But the race volunteers were great. They got him all set up with a new bib number minutes before the race was to begin.
My family did our usual cheers as the participants set off on their adventure and then we wandered around for a bit until the first runners started coming in. We love to stand on the sidelines and cheer for everyone and whether it is a big or small accomplishment for them we like to give encouragement. So we shouted, cheered, clapped, and generally had a great time. It was a great day to be outside.
I know I’ve said it before, but I feel I need to say it again. The fun runs in this area are such a positive, encouraging, enjoyable activity to participate in. I love watching our community pull together for a great cause.
So, if you are interested in walking or running the Spring Dash next year or if you want to find ways to volunteer or help the community, check out United Way of North Idaho’s Website.
Written by J.L. Haler
April 14, 2018
The constant stream of rain didn’t deter the participants of the Walk for Autism by Panhandle Autism Society.
A loving and supportive atmosphere greeted us as we walked to the start in McEuen Park. One of my favorite aspects of runs/walks in the area is the sense of community, support, and encouragement. This is something I have discovered more as my son participates in local races.
Children were bouncing in bouncy castles, getting their faces painted, and drawing at an art table. There were raffle prizes, items for purchase, and smiling volunteers all around. When I asked a volunteer what to do to donate, she laughed and replied, “We’ll take it!”
The walk started with some participants taking off in a dash and the rest following at their own paces. Standing in the pavilion and seeing a long line of people gathered together for a good cause and in support of those who may need extra help was a wonderful sight to see. Some participants were lucky enough to find hidden puzzle pieces along the path that earned them extra rewards.
When we left, the rain was still falling, and the moods were still lifted. Happy children, money for a good cause, and smiling faces all around make a good start for any day.
If you, or anyone you know, needs information/support on autism please go to the website and check it out. Panhandle Autism Society
Want to donate? You can earn them money with your smile.amazon purchases as well as link your Fred Meyer reward card.
Want to volunteer or become a member? Again, check out their site. Panhandle Autism Society
Want to participate in a half mile walk to help those who need it? Check out their Walk for Autism next year.
August 27, 2017
Written by J.L. Haler
This weekend we went down to Ironman CDA. Now, I know Ironman can be a hot topic for many. Some people love it, some hate it. There are those that don’t really have an opinion either way but those are not the ones you hear speaking up. I always considered it like other events in town. I know it’s going to happen and on what days, so I just plan my driving and errands for those days around it. No big deal.
Those who know me know I love being outdoors, but I prefer the forest to the crowded cities. However, as this was the last full Ironman in CDA and we knew a couple of people participating in it we wanted to watch it happen. We observed something amazing: one of those things that is difficult to describe unless you witness it. But I will make an attempt to give you a glimpse, an inkling of what we experienced.
On the sidelines: community volunteers cheering, encouraging, and offering aid when needed. Spectators applauding for those they knew and didn’t know. It didn’t matter the age, gender, or race. Shouts were yelled, bells were rung, and signs were waved. Some signs personalized; others more general and made to make you laugh. We watched spouses checking in on loved ones and we watched kids running alongside their parents for short distances. It was a family event. One beautiful moment that made us smile was a couple of kids whose mother and father were in the race. They ran beside the dad, then when the mom came a bit later ran with her and encouraged her to pass their dad.
During the day we saw people pushing for a goal, striving even though it was tough, hot, and they felt sick. We heard talk of stomach aches and vomiting. Not complaints, just talk of it. It didn’t matter that they felt like crap, they were persevering despite this. We saw athletes with taped up body parts to alleviate aches and pains, we saw them adjusting clothing to cool down from the 90+ degree day. We watched people walk when they couldn’t run any more but continue to take step after step getting a bit closer to their goal. We saw athletes in the zone, tuned out to everything around them, and we saw athletes smile in joy at those on the sidelines cheering them on. We saw athletes pulled from the race because, while their minds continued, their bodies couldn’t do it anymore. Others finished and then limped away, or went to medical tents. And I saw a man who wouldn’t cross the finish line until he paused on the sidelines to give his daughter, wife, and family a hug and kiss for their support.
We were thanked by finished athletes for being there, for cheering them on, and told what an inspiration it is and how much it makes a difference.
What we saw was something I love to see in this world. We saw the fight to continue despite difficulties. The drive to do something you love, to strive for and complete a goal. We saw love, compassion, and encouragement to all involved. We saw nothing but positivity, joy/happiness, and a community working together.
You may be happy to see Ironman CDA go, you may be sad, or you may not have an opinion. All I will say is farewell, Ironman CDA, thanks for the great day and thanks for showing me the wonderfulness that can happen in this world when you pursue a goal with passion and when people put differences aside to pull together in support of others. It was an inspiration.
Run for 271, 2017
Written by J.L. Haler
This last weekend we went to a run for the second weekend in a row. What made this run special was the massive community event it turned out to be. This was the first time we attended a Run for 271, but its sixth year running and I came away amazed at the community support and fun of the whole thing.
It started at seven in the morning but to be honest with you I can’t tell you what happened that early. Not being a morning person there was no way I was going to make it there by then. We did, however, make it to the 5k by nine. My son, the runner of the family, was participating in this event. So we sent him and all the others off with cheers, then (as bystanders do) prepared to wait.
While my son was off running along the lake the rest of us wandered from booth to booth and explored the area. Held at McEuen Park, the whole east side of the park was set up for the event. There were booths for local police, businesses, and events. One we always love to see is the booth for the Special Olympics in the area. Twenty-five minutes later we met our son at the finish line and proceeded to the Spokane Photo Booths area where we ran through twice getting fun and goofy, memorable photos made of us. Word bubbles, face masks, glasses, and lei’s were just some of the props they had. But you had to be quick. You got three photos with a few seconds in-between to swap out what you were wearing or doing.
At ten they started the kids obstacle course events. Ranging from 2-10, the kids were sent out in waves, running under parachutes, weaving through orange cones, jumping up and over hurdles, climbing mats, and in general having a great time. Spectators cheered and rang cowbells to encourage everyone just as they did with the 5k runners.
For all the little ones they had face painting, princesses walking around, bounce houses, a giant inflated slide, etc.
We decided at this point to sneak off and get some lunch at Sweet Lou’s. Having filled our bellies on salads, fries, and burgers we headed back to the event for the finale, the raffle. The whole time during the event you could purchase raffle tickets and place your stubs in one of the variety of prizes you would like to win.
My daughter walked away with some CDA Vikings swag (do people still say swag?), we didn’t win the rafting trip we wanted, and our neighbors won the kayak we tried for. 😊 The variety of things to win was great. Around $9000 worth of prizes was donated for the event. So, besides the kayak and rafting trip there were four different bikes, artwork, clothing, wine and dinner baskets, NIC swag (I’m going to stick with it even if it dates me), passes to Silver Mountain, family memberships to the Kroc Center, the list goes on and on.
What was amazing about this whole event was the fact that all of the proceeds, that’s 100%, went to support the CDA Elementary Schools. My son’s entry fee to the race, all of the raffle tickets, all of that money went to support our kids in the area. This money can make such a difference in the lives of our kids. And I found out they raised over $24,000 this year! Woo Hoo!
We will be donating and attending the event from now on. I wish I had known about it sooner. It is well worth it. It does an amazing thing for the community and it was wonderful to see so many people support the local area.
I would like to personally thank all the vendors, donors, participants, volunteers, and anyone else that made this event possible. Thank you for thinking of our kids, our future, and helping to ensure they have what they need to be successful in school.
My son has a love of running. He is still in elementary school and last December ran his very first 5k at the Reindeer Run. This was in McQuen Field in downtown CDA. It was an ok day for running in the middle of December. Of course, it was cold and during the race it started to rain pretty hard. But my kiddo had a huge smile on his face as he crossed the finish line at the 27 minute mark. It was so exciting to see him achieve this accomplishment. The Reindeer Run is hosted by Fleet Feet. I can't say enough good things about this store. They made sure he was in the correct shoes for his size and the way he runs and they had staff posted around the entire race so my son knew there was no way to get lost. Runners definitely make this a fun run. People were dressed as Santa, reindeer, elves, some wore tutus, just about anything you can imagine. We had a blast watching the race. Although, by the end we were all frozen and sopping wet.
One of the very first things he asked me when he finished was if there were any more fun runs in the area. Which leads us to the end of February and the Leprechaun Scurry. For this race runners were in green and towards the finish line they had a band playing Celtic music. The Leprechaun Scurry was hosted by Fleet Feet and Lake City High School. The entry fee was a fundraiser for the track program. This day was a bit better for running although, there was a biting wind that we kept trying to avoid by hiding behind things. Dressed in his running clothes and shamrock hat my son set off with a grin. Since this was a two loop course we got to wave when he came by again, then we hurried off to where the finish line was. Once more he finished the 3 miles at the 27 minute mark with a grin on his face. I think it's safe to say we have a a life-long runner on our hands. The Leprechaun Scurry race kept track of ages and order of finishing. My kiddo came in second place for his age group and won a medal. A great way to end the morning.
I love spending time with my family doing all the wonderful activities in the Inland Northwest.