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Run For Shelter draws more than 200 to Forest Grove to support homeless

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Members of the Forest Grove High School cross country team get a fast start in the Run For Shelter 5K Saturday morning, an inaugural event to support temporary emergency shelters in town.Forest Grove resident Sharon Kolb loves to run, and she and her family belong to Sonrise Church in town.

So when she heard about a new event called Run For Shelter — a benefit for homeless shelters at Sonrise and the Forest Grove United Church of Christ — it was natural for Kolb to circle Oct. 8 on her calendar.

She showed up at Forest Grove High School last Saturday morning in tights and a tank top with an iPod on her arm, ready to run the 5K — and had her husband Adam and their sons Jacob, 13, and Gabriel, 11, in tow.

“We wanted to help with the shelter,” said Adam. “It’s a great opportunity to come out and do something positive.”

Sharon took off with a pack of more than 200 people at 9 a.m. under overcast skies to vanquish a 3.1-mile course that wound through neighborhoods surrounding FGHS. She ended up winning her 40-44 age group in a time of 24:04.

A sizeable contingent from the FGHS cross country team smoked the field, with Max Norman finishing in 17:33 as the first-place male and Hannah Aguirre conquering the course in 19:54 as the first-place female.

Co-organizers Ralph Brown and Elena Parker of the FGUCC both said they were impressed with everyone who participated in the inaugural run/walk, a fundraiser for the Temporary Emergency Shelter — formerly known as the Severe Weather Shelter — at their church and at Sonrise. “Things are looking good,” said Brown, a Cornelius resident, before the 5K race, which was followed by a 1K and a Tot Trot. “We were really hoping the community would come out and support us, and they did.”

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - At least a half-dozen dogs, including this one running with his human in the 5K, showed up at the Run For Shelter in Forest Grove Oct. 8.With 120 pre-registered folks and another 100 showing up the day of the event, Run For Shelter raised more than $9,500 to help pay for overnight chaperones, blankets, sleeping pads, food and other items necessary to care for guests who’ll come in from the cold this winter when temperatures drop below freezing.

The FGUCC shelter is located in the church on College Way, and the Sonrise shelter is located adjacent to that church’s worship center on 19th Avenue, said Rudy Tinoco, a pastor there. “Part of the challenge has been to get people to stay overnight,” he said. “We thought if we compensated them a little, that would help.”

Tinoco said part of Run For Shelter’s appeal may have been that there was no set registration feel, allowing runners and walkers to choose the size of their donation. “It’s so exciting to see this kind of response from the community,” Tinoco said as he snapped photos of the crowd with his smart phone.

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: NANCY TOWNSLEY - Run For Shelter co-organizer Ralph Brown gives away a berry pie as a door prize after the 5K and 1K races. Gloria Anderson, who completed the 5K in the women's 80-84 age group,, was the dessert's recipient.Brown acted as the event’s emcee and Forest Grove resident Blake Timm, who ran the 5K, announced age-group winners after the last person crossed the finish line.

Participants lined up for bananas, orange slices and mini-cinnamon rolls provided by Maggie’s Buns while waiting for official times and door prizes to be called out.

The shelters also need volunteers to stay overnight and bring food. A volunteer orientation Monday drew 15 to 20 people. For more information, call 503-357-9121.