While it was extra cold this year, a threatened snowstorm held off until afternoon, and the cold turned the leaves, setting a beautiful scene for hosting our 14th Annual River Run, held on October 12. The River Run serves as the main annual fundraiser for the Jensen Community Center, which is a pillar in our community for entertainment, community events, senior meals, and kids’ activities, including the annual Falcon Fun Run for children ages 5-10.
It takes more than 100 volunteers and countless hours to make a day like this possible. Along with those kind enough to volunteer their time before the race date, we had many great friends helping us out with parking and race registration to ensure things ran more smoothly than ever before. We had nearly 1,500 participants run or walk through our town, and so we offer up a special thank you to the residents and business owners who may have seen more traffic and parking for a few hours. This event is a chance for us to show off all that Amherst has to offer!
Out on the course, you saw Portage County Sheriff’s Deputies and Amherst EMTs helping to ensure safety, and students from the Amherst Cross Country Team directing the racers! Once the runners got back, they found great things to eat, supporting our local high school Spanish Club, the Iola Winter Sports Club ski team, coffee from Ruby Coffee Roasters who donated the proceeds of coffee, and from Baking for Friends, which donated sweets on race morning! Runners were also treated with bagels and fruit provided by Amherst Family Foods. There were also children’s activities provided by Amherst’s Own Child Care, who provided some fun and engaging kids’ games and activities outside. Participants also learned more about 212 Fitness (the new name of Adventure 212). Once again this year, the national anthem was performed by the barbershop quartet Regal Blend. Thank you to American Governor for allowing us to use their parking areas for emergency vehicles and for providing electricity for announcements. A special thank you to North Wind Renewable Energy, Tom Krutza, Amherst Bible Church, Sharpe Engineering, and Blenker Construction for providing parking areas for volunteers and attendees. And, finally, thank you to this year’s River Run sponsors: North Wind Renewable Energy, Farmers State Bank, Amherst Family Foods, 212 Fitness, Stuczynski Soils and Design, and Central Waters Brewing Company.
Many smiles and much laughter was shared throughout the day, making me proud to be a part of such a wonderful event. This was my fifth year as Race Director, and I can say with confidence that it just keeps getting better. A town like ours relies on the Jensen Community Center for so many programs, entertainment, and strength-building community events. So from myself and all of us who worked on the run, thank you for the support of this important event for our area. See you next year!
-Chelsea Graham, River Run Race Director