At the sound of the starting gun, runners break through a ribbon and the 40th Annual Kootenai River Run has begun. Northwest Academy assumed sole sponsorship of the event eight years ago as a way to serve the local community and because the event aligned with the therapeutic boarding school’s mission to teach students the benefits of health and wellness and the importance of a post-secondary education. The proceeds from the event provide college scholarships to local high school students and support the community running program.
This USA Track and Field sanctioned 5k and 10k event started in 1976 and many runners have crossed the finish line over the years. Dwindling participation threatened to shut down the race but the sponsorship by the Northwest Academy kept the event alive. Today, more than 180 runners participate including Northwest Academy staff, students and their families, who make up a significant portion of the participants.
Events like the Kootenai River Run often become something very personal to aspiring runners. Northwest Academy Math Teacher Dwayne Davis saw the Kootenai River Run as his chance to train for his first 5K run. He had been unable to participate in previous years due to health issues. He set a goal to train for the event and cross the finish line. Not only did Davis finish, he placed third in his age group and has since run two other races with more races to come.
“I’ll tell you it wasn’t easy. At one point I thought about slowing down to a walk, but up ahead I saw one of my students running alongside her mother, and I thought I’ll keep up a little longer and a little longer and I made it to the end,” explained Davis.
At the conclusion of the race, as all gathered for the awards ceremony, Kootenai River Run Coordinator Jim Cadnum expressed his gratitude to Northwest Academy for their continued sponsorship of the event.