Trash dash takes off

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By Teresa Herriman

The Courier-Herald

The Dash-for-Trash trail run got a late start Saturday. The turnout for the first-time event was low, although a break in the rain allowed for a more comfortable race. Runners and walkers mingled with the demonstration forest employees before the race, waiting for last minute stragglers while admiring the beauty of their surroundings.

Erika Jones, a part-time employee at the demonstration forest, coordinated the race. As a former track coach for Tenino High School near Tumwater and the future physical education teacher for McKight Middle School in Renton, she was uniquely qualified for the position.

Elite runner Markus Dennis, of Puyallup, helped generate donations and assisted in designing the course, Program Coordinator for the challenge program and demonstration forest Vicky McCarley said. Dennis, a world-class ultra distance runner, is coming off of a two-month hiatus since running across the state of Indiana. He ran 280 miles in 10 days, the equivalent of running 10 marathons in a row to support Indiana gubernatorial candidate Eric Miller.

While he doesn't do all his running in lush forests, Dennis said he enjoys trail running. It has become a popular sport, as evidenced by the exponential increase in running shoes specifically designed for the sport, he noted.

Trail running shoes feature a type of cleat, called shark teeth, and a special reinforced toe for those occasional stumps and roots.

Part of the draw is running in a attractive setting.

"People like the woods," he said.

The lush forest inside the Bonney Lake city limits provides a unique opportunity to enjoy the outdoors without going far from home.

The 5K race began at the site of the high challenge program. One goal of the event, McCarley said, was to highlight the various aspects of the demonstration forest. That includes the 4-H Challenge Course. McCarley also hoped to show residents the new perimeter trails completed by the National Civilian Community Corps. It is her hope high school cross-country teams will use the trails for training and competitions.

Cody Saunders was the youngest competitor Saturday. The 11-year-old Puyallup boy said he liked the downhill part best, "and getting across the finish line."

Angie Tague, also of Puyallup, was impressed with the course.

"It was fun, but that last hill was a killer," she said.

Some participants stayed after to help pick up trash in the community forest.

Columbia Bank, Les Schwab, Safeway, South Sound Running and Bonney Lake Bicycle Shop donated products and prizes for the event.

Teresa Herriman can be contacted at

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