Running for a Cause

Runs Go Virtual to Support the Community

Due to COVID-19, many traditional events in Bend and around the country are being canceled or modified in some way. Races, whether 5K, 10K, or marathons, are also being affected. For example, the popular “I Like Pie” 5K run, which was started by Footzone’s original owner, Teague Hatfield, and a group of his employees, is going virtual this year. This event would normally draw about 3,000 participants, who would then enjoy some pie once they finished the course. “Footzone has been Bend’s local running store for over 25 years and its focus for all these years has been on the community,” says Michelle Poirot, who manages all of the training groups at the store.  The “I Like Pie” run has been a major fundraiser for NeighborImpact, a local food bank, she explains. It has allowed them to donate thousands and thousands of pounds of food over the years.

Another local organization, Cascade Relays, also had their own Thanksgiving morning race in the Old Mill District. Four years ago, the organizers approached Footzone and asked if they could have a combined race. “It’s still called ‘I Like Pie,’ but it takes place in the Old Mill District which offers a much better experience because we can keep people off the roads and on walking paths and trails,” says Michelle. Cascade Relays raises money for various programs, including Girls on the Run, a program operated by the local Boys and Girls Club that encourages girls in local public schools to walk, run, and be active. “There has been a lot of demand for funds for nonprofits, especially for something like a food bank, that we felt that we wanted to continue to stand up for that,” says Michelle. “We couldn’t bear to not support them.” So, both groups decided to hold a virtual race in 2020, and are calling it the “I Like Pie Home Edition.” What they’re asking people to do is to walk or run a certain distance from their own homes and then have pie in their driveways.

There have been very few live races this year. Michelle says that in Bend proper alone, there are usually more than 30 races. But virtual events, for many, can still act as good motivators to stay active. One race that did happen live was the annual Bigfoot 10K held by the Central Oregon Running Club (CORK). This year it took place on Sunday, October 4th. “Founded in 1976, CORK is one of the oldest clubs in Oregon,” says board member and treasurer, Peter Hatton, who along with Thomas Morgan, is the co-race director for the Bigfoot race. “We’d been going back and forth on whether we could hold a safe event, and we decided that under the current state guidelines and mandates, we could.” The Bigfoot race usually draws anywhere from 160 to 180 participants, but this year they capped it at 140. Instead of one mass start, they had groups of 20 runners starting five minutes apart. All participants were required to wear masks at least until they started the race and then once they were on the trail, they were allowed to remove them if they were not in close proximity with or passing someone.  The main focus of the Bigfoot run, says Peter, is that 100% of the proceeds go to four local high school cross country teams. In the last 10 years, CORK has donated more than $50,000 to the teams. These fundraising races, whether live or virtual, are more important than ever for nonprofits to survive in this economy. And taking part not only benefits these vital organizations, but also helps participants get outside and stay fit and healthy. FootzoneBend.com, CascadeRelays.com, CentralOregonRunningKlub.com



+  “I Like Pie” 5K Run

+ 3,000 or more participants

+ Old Mill District

+ Pie served to runners at the finish line


+ “I Like Pie Home Edition”

+ Participants walk or run from home

+ Pie enjoyed in the safety of your home space.

The event continue to raise funds in support of NeighborImpact and Boys and Girls Clubs Bend, NeighborImpact.org, BGBBend.org

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