FAIRFIELD — Racking up the miles was only part of the purpose for hundreds of people as they ran around the sandy running trail at Golden West Elementary School, Saturday.
Despite the rain, close to 300 people participated in the Viking Challenge to raise money for the Fisher House at Travis Air Force Base.
The 12-hour relay that ran from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. was expected to raise close to $10,000 for the nonprofit Fisher House, which offers a place to stay for family members of those receiving treatment at David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base, said organizer Andy Washburn, shortly after he finished his leg of the relay.
“Since 2009, the house has been at full capacity. With a waiting list of about nine families at any given time,” Washburn said. “This is one of the biggest revenue generators for them.”
The Fisher House is not supported by the government, highlighting the need for donations and events like the Viking Challenge, Washburn said.
“So we generate most of the revenue,” he said. “We have a lot of community support. A lot of the local vendors were great in providing donations.”
Of the 31 teams competing Saturday, Washburn said most were military, although a number of civilian groups were out as well.
“We have a lot of great folks coming out and competing, a lot of community members and military members and families out here,” he said. “We have a lot of civilian teams. Vanden High School has a team out here. They brought the Viking mascot outfit and were running in that for part of the day.”
To spice things up, there was also three competitions between the teams.
“There are three categories for competition. The most donations, the most miles and the best costume and spirit,” Washburn said.
As the runners cruised around the soggy track, music played over a loud speaker and the member of each team not running could be seen milling about or relaxing in a number of tents scattered on the schoolyard field.
A few even had barbecues going.
Washburn said the rain didn’t dampen spirits and probably just added to the idea of toughness the Viking Challenge might evoke.
“A little bit wet today, but people are still out here running,” he said.
With four hours to go, the 9th Air Refueling Squadron was leading in mileage, although one individual had chosen to run the full 12 hours on his own – he was at 45 miles around 3 p.m.
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.