River Run celebrates 15 years: Annual Jensen Center fundraiser returned October 9

By Chelsea Graham, River Run Race Coordinator and Mariah Singer-Brown, Jensen Center Associate Director

It was a cool and foggy morning at this year’s annual River Run, held October 9 at Central Waters Brewing Company. The fundraiser serves as a primary source of funding for the Jensen Community Center, a gathering place in our community for entertainment, community events, enriching classes, senior meals, and kids’ activities.

From the moment the sun rose on race day, over 100 amazing volunteers were at their stations, ready to make this another successful event. Registration volunteers began checking in participants at 7:45 a.m., making sure they received their bibs and timing chips, t-shirts, River Run beer, and the chance to purchase a coveted bottle of Black Gold. Parking volunteers directed traffic to the parking areas, keeping Allen Street safe for foot traffic along the road. Runners and walkers began lining up at about 9:45 a.m. near the starting gate set up by Jake Barnes and his awesome team of race course volunteers.

After the national anthem at 10 a.m., performed by the barbershop quartet Regal Blend, the runners set off on their five-mile tour of our community. Following shortly behind, the two-mile walkers took a shorter tour of our village. Out on the course, runners breezed by Portage County Sheriff’s Deputies and members of the Amherst Fire District helping to ensure safety and saw students from the Amherst Cross Country Team directing them on the course. Once the runners and walkers got back to the brewery, they were greeted at a recovery table by a group of teenage volunteers with water and recovery snacks provided by Amherst Family Foods. While waiting for race results, participants also had the chance to purchase treats supporting Holly Hurda’s Team Fox for Parkinson’s Research and the Iola Winter Sports Club ski team. This year, the race prizes were beautiful one-of-a-kind mugs made individually by potter Terry Achten.

We would like to once again thank Emerson Automation Solutions-American Governor Hydropower Solutions for allowing us to use their parking lot for emergency vehicles and for providing electricity for announcements as well as letting us use their grounds for additional parking. A special thank you to Amherst Bible Church, Sharpe Engineering, and Blenker Construction for providing parking areas for volunteers and attendees. Another extra thank you to Central Waters Brewing Company for covering added costs this year. And, finally, thank you to this year’s River Run sponsors: North Wind Renewable Energy, Amherst Family Foods, Central Waters Brewing Company, Farmers State Bank, Fleming’s Cafe, and Stuczynski Soils and Design.

While the race was capped at 800 participants this year, about half of what we usually have due to social distancing concerns, we know that bringing all those people to our area warrants a special thank you to Amherst residents and business owners who may have seen more traffic and parking for a few hours. This event is definitely a chance for us to show off all that Amherst has to offer!

Each year, this event just keeps getting better. A town like ours relies on the Jensen Center for so many programs, entertainment, and strength-building community events. So from all of us who worked on the Run, thank you for the support of this important event for our area. See you next year!

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