One of the great joys in life is fundraising… bwaa-ha-ha-ha! Sorry. Both of my boys are in Cub Scouts and I am one of the leaders. It’s a lot of work and sometimes I worry I’ll find one of them tied upside-down to a tree. “Look, Mr. Irby. We used the bowline knot.” But I love working with kids. They get excited about things! They ask lots of questions, curious to the gills! “Wonder if this will burn.”
We do two fundraisers per year. One is selling popcorn (you want Caramel or Chocolate Drizzle?) The other is trying to sell something that nobody really wants and even the boys’ cuteness can’t overcome that. We hit the senior citizen communities because they’re usually softies for the kids, but they invariably get confused looks on their faces, “What is this, again?”
Scout: “It’s a coupon card that also gets you into a scouting event.”
Senior Citizen: “But I don’t want to go to a scouting event. I have a hard enough getting to my mailbox and I’m booked up with doctors appointments until May.”
Scout: “There are coupons on the card you can use for potato chips and peanut butter.”
Senior Citizen: “That stuff is bad for my dentures. Got something for figs?”
Me: “Give ’em the puppy dog eyes, son.”
So, somebody on the committee thought we could try a 5k run as a new fundraiser, looking at me of course as I pretended the dirt under my fingernails was the most interesting thing in the world – is that a bug wing? Eventually, I looked up and said, “huh?” while my mind was whirling with thoughts of expenses and manpower and paperwork and hmm, think I’ll make some popcorn tonight.
After much thought and research (which consisted mainly of pestering race directors with questions until they cried or ran away), we decided to do a trail run; thus saving city fees, road closure costs, police overtime expenses etc. Of course, we may spend more on ice for twisted ankles, search parties and such.
Properly, a race should be planned a year in advance, so five months was right in line with our standard method of operation. I had talked to our District Executive previously about the race. He said he was a runner who belonged to a few running clubs and was excited to hear we were planning a 5k and he would do everything he could to expedite our paperwork. The day I called him to say we decided to go ahead with it, he said, “I’m not your DE anymore. Talk to Gretchen.” Three weeks and a gray hair later, I got approval from Gretchen.
Then I called the county park supervisor to talk about trails and port-a-johns. He was an older fella and I had to speak up. “Huh? Oh, I remember you,” he said. “You sold me one of those discount cards I never used.” Finally, we decided on three trails that connect to make a 3.1 mile loop and the next weekend I set off to explore the area.
“Hey kids! You wanna go on a short hike with me?” “No.” So, off I went early on Saturday morning… all by myself.
The first trail started next to a horse corral. I hope the wind blows the other way on race day, I thought. But then I saw the port-a-johns on the other side of the parking lot. The first 1.2 miles was easy. It was a level, well-maintained service road.
The second trail split off heading east and, although it was well kept, there were considerably more hills and nooks and crannies. That looks like a good spot for a bobcat. That would make a nice den for some coyotes. Is that a rock?
The third trail – can’t remember the name… Butterfield or Widowmaker or something like that – was definitely the most difficult. I imagined I was a contestant on Naked and Afraid, braving the rugged desert terrain in my birthday suit, facing down wild animals with a sharpened stick and sipping water from bird tracks. Bet I could make a shelter out of those tumbleweeds… “Put your shirt back on!” shouted a couple of ladies behind me. “You want to scare the lizards?” Where did they come from? They hoofed on past me with their walking sticks and hipsacks. “Come on, Gracie.”
But anyway, there was a great view of the city from trail three. Wow! The smog’s semi-transparent today. I can see the football stadium! So, I followed my nose back to the horse corral, snapping pictures along the way and then headed home to share my experience.
The run is called The Pack 64 Great Outdoors 5k Trail Run and is on February 6, 2016. Mark your calendar and sign up to join us. I’m pushing to get sign-ups, but may have gone too far when I made my mom reschedule her cataract surgery. If you can’t run, then walk it. Or, if you wish, you can make a donation to support our pack on the Event Info website: http://www.runsignup.com/pack645k. It would be much appreciated. Pictures are posted there, too. There’s a $5 discount on registration this weekend. That’s my commercial.