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Run Rocklin took root after conversation between two neighbors

Event has benefited various local projects
By: Teresa O'Hanlon, Placer Herald Correspondent
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Every spring Run Rocklin culture seems to embrace the city with bright banners, team bonding and hundreds of folks training on tree-lined streets. Nine years ago the local event took root during a conversation between Rocklin neighbors who wanted to pound the ground on their own city streets while breaking ground for community fundraising. Kate Hay and Gary Day took their grassroots effort from a sidewalk chat to a Rocklin City Council meeting in 2003. “Rocklin’s Run for the Gold — the original name — was created as a fundraiser to save St. Mary’s Church in downtown Rocklin,” said race co-founder Kate Hay. “My neighbor Gary Day and I thought that Rocklin needed a run — we were both runners — and thought that a St. Patrick’s Day theme would be fun, plus it was original to have a run so early in the year. The event was proposed at the November City Council meeting and approved.” Planning a race that put Rocklin on the map for area runners meant providing a certified course with professional timing, plenty of race day volunteers and a solid marketing effort. “It was very stressful for the committee to coordinate an event in four to five months... especially when it grew so large that we had to search for a new timing company at the last minute,” remembered Hay, who served as the first race director. “We had 945 participants that first year (2004), which in the running event world was classified as a large event. “I formed a committee of very experienced runners, recreation professionals, track coaches and passionate community supporters, plus a whole lot of good friends,” she continued. With Hay’s leadership, Gary Day’s organizational skills and Rocklin resident Larry Osborne, owner of Elephant Ideas, as the title sponsor, Run for the Gold 2004 raised $8,000. Funds allowed the relocation of Saint Mary’s of the Assumption Catholic Church to its current home in Heritage Park. Year two of Run for the Gold raised $12,000 for Rocklin Friends of the Library. Larry Osborne accepted the role of race director in year three and poured his heart and soul into the idea of a destination run that beckoned runners from the greater Placer County area. “I changed its name from Rocklin Run for the Gold to Run Rocklin,” said Osborne, who didn’t want an event tied to a holiday, thus forcing a theme every year. “In addition, the Fleet Feet store in Sacramento had started the Shamrock’n Half Marathon so we were going to be competing against a powerhouse situation,” he said. “I also wanted an event that was themed around Rocklin. If you live in Rocklin, let’s run Rocklin. If you don’t live in Rocklin, let’s come to Rocklin and run.” In year three, Osborne also planned to spread race proceeds between the Rocklin Police and Fire Departments and Rocklin schools. Osborne has since modeled Run Rocklin into an event to benefit the Matt Redding Memorial Scholarship Foundation in honor of fallen Rocklin Police Officer and community son, Matt Redding. “I wanted something people could relate to locally,” said Osborne. “This is something local people can get their arms around and I see no reason to change the beneficiary every year. It’s like the logo on our shirt. It’s grown a little bit from year to year, but essentially it hasn’t changed. It all fits.” Rocklin High School senior Ryan McCormick will run his fourth Run Rocklin on April 15. “The 12K is a nice break from the usual 5K and 10K race runners do,” shared McCormick. “It’s the same distance as the Bay to Breakers, so that is nice. I also enjoy the course. It goes through my favorite streets to run on, namely Rawhide and Clover Valley Road.” Hay is happy her community event has grown into a regional run under Osborne’s leadership, raising more than $48,000 to date for the Matt Redding Memorial Scholarship Foundation. “Community events, such as Run Rocklin, which are tirelessly coordinated and supported by community members and local businesses, give us so much more than just a single day event,” Hay said. “These community events give us shared experiences, an opportunity to volunteer and give back, and a destination to gather with friends and family, which in turn builds a strong and vibrant community. “Run Rocklin is now a strong community tradition and that is what I am most proud of,” she continued. “Larry Osborne has kept the tradition of Run Rocklin with a solid and professionally run event with the support of community. I am so happy that he has continued to dedicate time and effort to continually build Run Rocklin each year — from the original 945 participants to more than 3,000 today! Over the years, Gary Day also worked tirelessly to keep this event going. I thank both of these people on keeping Run Rocklin alive.”