Nearly 60 runners have registered for the inaugural Oregon Trail Run of Nebraska, which will be held in Thayer County on October 22nd. Participants of the marathon and half-marathon are traveling to Hebron from coast to coast, representing eleven different states. To this, the committee organizing the run for the City of Hebron has added two more runs: a one-mile fun run, which will take place on the Friday, October 21st, and a half-marathon Relay, called the Pony Express Run, which will take place on Saturday, October 22nd.
Weekend events will begin on Friday at the Stastny Community Center. Run participants will be able to pick up their race-day packets beginning at 4:00 p.m. and peruse the vendor booths which will be set up on site. From 5:00-7:00 p.m., the Knights of Columbus will be serving a spaghetti dinner which is open to the public. At 5:30, the starting gun will sound for the fun run, which will take place on a trail through the grassed area north of the Stastny Center. The fun run/walk is open to everyone. There is no registration fee, and there is no time limit. According to Jeff Friesen, one of the committee members organizing the run, “the purpose of the fun run is to promote wellness within the community and to highlight the new walking trails which are being laid out in the city.” At 7:00 p.m., the run committee has scheduled a band to come and play for the evening. The whole event is open to the public.
The Pony Express Run is a four-person relay which covers a half-marathon distance, approximately 5k per runner. The run will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, the 21st at the starting point for the half marathon, which is east of Hebron on River Road. Like the Pony Express riders of history, the relay runners will pass along a belt, which contains their timing chip, to their teammate at designated stations along the route.
To add to the fun of the Half-Marathon Relay, the Hebron Foundation has chosen to fund two copies of a trophy, created by Henderson artist Vern Friesen, depicting a pony express rider on his route. One of the trophies will be used as a traveling trophy within the county and the other will be used as a traveling trophy for the high school division of the run. “The purpose of the traveling trophy,” according to Friesen, “is to promote running and a friendly rivalry within our county.” The idea is that as teams sign up from the different communities in the county, that the trophy would be on display in the community of the winning team for the next year.
“Hopefully, it will become a point of pride to display the traveling trophy within the community and will encourage a positive competition between the communities in our county,” Friesen said.
If you want to register a team, you can download a form from the run’s website: oregontrailrun.com and send it in to the City of Hebron. There is a limit of 25 teams for the Pony Express Run and the deadline for signing up is October 1st.
Oregon Trail Run: How you Can Help
The committee organizing the Oregon Trail Run is trying to create a unique experience for those running the race. “We want to participants to feel as though they are running a bit of history when they are running here,” Friesen said. For this, the committee needs your help.
The committee needs the following:
· Cattle skulls to serve mile markers
· People who are willing to be re-enactors
· Wagons that can be used for aid stations
· Local businesses to serve as vendors
· Volunteers to help with aid stations and events of the day
Schedule of events:
Friday, October 21st, Stastny Community Center
Vendor Booths and Displays: 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Packet Pick up: 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Spaghetti Feed: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Fun Run/Walk: 5:30 p.m.
There is no entry fee for the run
Band: 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 22nd, Roosevelt Park
Packet pick up: 6:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Oregon Trail Marathon: 8:00 a.m.
Pony Express Run: 9:00 a.m.
Oregon Trail Half Marathon: 10:00 a.m.