When Cary Stephens first came up with the idea for Run for the Hills (RFH) as a Greenbelt board member, he had no idea that it would raise over $60,000 for area public trails and that it would become a popular community builder. Cary says he’s most proud of “the completion of the whole dream of connecting Bald Hill Farm to Fitton Green” and that “this race celebrates accessible public trails, Greenbelt’s conservation efforts, and our passionate community.” The race now features a 30k, 8k, and 2 mile run – there is something for everyone.
After directing the run with his wife, Lori, for over a decade, Cary felt that it is time to get some “new ideas and new blood” into the race. Time to pass the baton!
Fortunately, we have two new, amazing, co-directors, Marc Weber and Drew Ibarra, who have stepped up along with Heart of the Valley Runners to carry the torch forward.
Marc and Drew will add their own, fresh flavor to the race and post-race party.
“I’ve been running pretty much all of my life. I started running as a kid, and always used to do races with my dad, ran cross-country in high school, and ultimately became a road runner for many years. Then, on a whim I started running on trails with friends and realized that I really liked it. I like getting off of the roads, and into different scenery. Run for the Hills was actually one of the very first trail races that I ever did, as well as one of the first races that I ever did in Corvallis. So, this was the race that really introduced me to trail running races. I loved that experience, and have done a number of them since.
As a board member of HOTV Runners, I’m involved in the running community, and last year helped Cary with the timing of the race. This is a race that I really want to see continue, grow, and improve – so, I decided that I would jump in and help direct the race this year.
My favorite local trails to run is this course. I love Fitton Green – it’s one of the treasures of this community because of its open space and trails. We are really lucky here in Corvallis with all of the great trails that we have available to us. This race is a great event to highlight that for our community.” – Marc Weber
“I first ran the 30k with Run for the Hills in 2011. I was looking for a fun, small, local race. What I also found out was that it was fairly challenging! There was a lot of uphill/downhill, and it was also pretty competitive. Last year we got news that Cary wanted to make a transition – to run race, and take more of a passive role in directing. I’ve always been excited about race directing and promoting trail running in our community, so needless to say I jumped at the opportunity to be involved.
Cary has created a great legacy. Marc and I are trying to absorb all of the great things that he has done, and also carrying our new flavor for the race. I look forward to continuing this awesome legacy that Cary has made.” – Drew Ibarra
This year, Cary will be standing on the starting line for the 30K run as a runner. Marc and Drew joke that not only will Cary map and run the course, but that they’ll convince him to be the sweeper as well. As an ultra-marathon trail runner logging 50+ miles a week, this will be no challenge to Cary. Thank you, Cary and Lori – and welcome, Marc and Drew!