Fourth of July fundraiser brings out the community

Nearly 300 people raise more than $5,000 for veterans, active military members

Chanel Hoy, 8, cools off with the stars and stripes after running her first ever race.

Nika Magner, 4, is all smiles as she crosses the finish line at The Heroes' Challenge at Capt. William Clark Regional Park, in Washougal.

The Heroes’ Challenge Race Results

5K MEN

Josh Reiter: 00:19:39:68

Michael Garrison: 00:20:57:75

Ryan Grable: 00:22:56:14

5K WOMEN

Olivia Klinetobe: 00:24:44:71

Deb Krichko: 00:25:14:84

Rachael Tullar: 00:26:14:03

10K MEN

Casey Kemp: 00:39:44:00

John Love: 00:43:32:62

Bob Rakoz: 00:47:16:09

10K WOMEN

Kristin Lesseig: 00:48:38:85

Kristen Thomas: 00:51:42:02

Jennifer Brooks: 00:55:35:11

Casey Kemp runs along the Columbia River Dike Trail on his way to winning The Heroes' Challenge 10K.

10K winners Casey Kemp, Kristin Lesseig and race organizer Sondra Grable celebrate a successful Heroes' Challenge, on July 4.

On a holiday when many people feast and celebrate at festive barbecue gatherings, several hundred folks in Camas and Washougal chose to launch into the Fourth of July by burning some serious calories during the third annual Heroes’ Challenge, at Capt. William Clark Regional Park, in Washougal.

The Heroes’ Challenge, a fundraiser held for local military active duty members and veterans in need, used to be held several miles out of town, along the Washougal River Road; however, the change in venue was a huge success, Janelle Hoglan-Stanton, fundraiser organizer, said.

“Normally we have about 50 people participating and last night we already had 186 pre-registered and many more showed up this morning, it’s incredible,” Hoglan-Stanton said.

The community fundraiser featured events for everyone, including 5K and 10K runs, adult bike race and a run for children up to age 9.

Nika Magner, 4, ran her first race ever with parents Rory and Maria Magner.

When she crossed the finish line, Nika was asked what her favorite part of the race was, with a huge smile on her face, she said, “winning!”

Nika’s parents, who now live in Camas, were both track and field athletes at the University of North Carolina, and it’s likely that this was the first of many wins for the 4-year-old.

“This is such a great way to connect with our community, we see so many people here today from our gym,” Maria Magner said.

Chanel Hoy, 8, also ran her first race and was greeted by her mother, Debbie Hoy, as she crossed the finish line where she received her own dog tag signifying her accomplishment.

“It was really hard,” Chanel said as she took a big drink of water.

Debbie Hoy served seven years in the U.S. Air Force and was thrilled to see so many people show up for the event.

“This is a great holiday, but I think it’s important to remember what it’s really all about, the birth of our nation,” Debbie Hoy said.

Sondra Grable helped coordinate the event and said she was thrilled that so many people started the day in a healthy way that could also benefit others.

“It’s an incredible morning and we couldn’t be more pleased with so many people turning out, including entire families,” Grable said.

Dustin Thomas ran the 5K while pushing his two children, Brooks and Graham, in a stroller.

“This is our first year running it, and it’s so great to have this local (event) in our backyard. We woke up and got down here in about 10 minutes,” Thomas said.

Casey Kemp won the 10K event for the second year in a row. Kemp said he likes to train by trail running along the Heritage Trail in Camas.

“This is by far the biggest turnout, and I sure like seeing it,” Kemp said.

Following the event, organizers said nearly 300 people came out to support The Heroes’ Challenge which raised more than $5,000 dollars, which will go directly to veterans and active duty members in need, through Point Man Ministries.

The planning for the 2019 fundraiser has already started.

Organizers met July 13 at Camas’ Hidden River Roasters to begin planning another race for next year’s July Fourth holiday.