Children between the ages 3 to 12 were able to put their racing shoes on and make a dash for the finish line at the Umpqua Strong Run. Organizers made sure to include a separate race for youngsters to participate in the event.

The kid’s race was made up of several races, each for a certain age group and distance.

Gearing up for the race, Sara Wyatt, 4, stood with parents listening to directions from the instructors. Layla Parker, 3, displayed her excitement and fashion as she posed for pictures and prepared for running.

While many little feet stretched across the starting line, several kids sat with parents or friends cheering on the participants. Among the crowd were mother and son, Amy and Ben Palm. Ben, 5, already tired from his trek in the 5k, chose to cheer rather than participate.

Alexis Christian, 7, and Gracyn Esper, 6, decided not to run. Instead they sat together patiently waiting for the race to begin.

Once the horn was blown, step by step, the children made out for the finish line in search of victory. Avery Hunter, 5, was able to come up with the win. Hunter stated that the race was her favorite part of the event. If given the opportunity to hug anyone that day, Hunter said, “My mom, because I love her.”

Prisayus Paxson, 9, was another winner. Upon thinking of the meaning behind ‘UCCStrong,’ Paxson said, “It means to me that. . .that’s a hard one! That’s a special school.”

Justice, 9, said he did good in the race and said the race was “to honor the people in the community.” A part of Team Carrot, Justice and his teammates succeeded in being the top fundraising team raising over $6000 according to The Umpqua Strong 9k+5k/Run-Walk Facebook page.

As each race commenced, parents found their children displaying happiness in their smiles. Standing at the finish line with her mother, Kayla, 3, danced and welcomed racers with bubbles.

The meaning behind the Umpqua Strong Run may not be clear for these little runners and cheerers just yet. However, they too were able to take steps to show support in the community.

amy and ben palm
Amy Palm and her son, Ben, sit together waiting for the first race.
Provided by Kaya Maliglig /Mainstream
layla parker
Layla Parker prepares for the kids’ race.
Provided by Kaya Maliglig / Mainstream