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Race over the dam to be revived

Move to fall should limit schedule conflicts


Runners cross Grand Coulee Dam in 2012 during a big drawdown of Lake Roosevelt. The dam itself and the spectacle of the entire area should be big draws for runners at the right time of year, states Kelly Buche, who is organizing the run for next September. - Scott Hunter photo

A run over the top of Grand Coulee Dam will be revived, even after its last organizers dropped it, if Kelly Buche has anything to say about it.

Buche, a local accountant and active runner, is aggressively planning how to organize, promote and pull off a race that at one time in its long history drew 400 runners.

Run the Dam can offer a lot to the running public if promoted the right way and set at the right time of year, Buche told the Coulee Area Park and Recreation District at their Nov. 2 meeting.

It's been tried during the community's Colorama event in May, when it drew about 130 runners, she noted. But runs take a lot of organizing and many volunteers. Two different organizers have had trouble attracting them on Mother's Day weekend, a time when the Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce is also drawing heavily on volunteers to put on a parade, carnival, vendor fair and more, and the Ridge Riders stage a big rodeo.

The chamber, which sponsors the run, has turned over planning to Buche, who just got permission from the Bureau of Reclamation to hold it during next fall's Harvest Festival, on Sept. 17.

"Destination runs are huge with half-marathon and marathon runners," Buche said. "I would love to see Run the Dam become a destination run again."

She named several factors in its favor:

• the opportunity to run across Grand Coulee Dam,

• it includes the colorful history of B Street, part of the route;

• the beauty of the coulee walls.

"Being able to run through the coulee is just one of the most spectacular things to do," said Buche, a serious runner for the last eight years who has been to many runs around the state. "This is going to provide a really exceptional course for serious runners."

Through social media, Buche is in touch with running groups across the state, she said. A serious conflict for many of them has been a big race in Puyallup around Colorama weekend.

She said the possibility of changing the date already had produced some buzz from the west side of the state, even before she could confirm the timing with the bureau.

"I am getting so much positive feedback for support and participation! It's gonna be awesome," she said Friday.

The race, with 5K, 10K and half-marathon routes, would end with the finish line in North Dam Park, which is managed by the park district.

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