COMMUNITY: Spring Run to challenge runners for 33rd time |

COMMUNITY: Spring Run to challenge runners for 33rd time

The Spring Run 5K/10K will kick off its 33rd running Saturday at Nevada City United Methodist Church. Runners and walkers will tackle the strenuous course in support of the Nevada City United Methodist Church.

The church uses the funds from the race to support a wide array of charitable causes and events in Nevada County.

The Spring Run is the oldest running event in Nevada County by a wide margin, and is one of the founding events of the Gold Country Grand Prix. As historic as the race is as an event, the course itself is similarly memorable in the minds of anyone who has attempted it. Although much of the race is fairly standard for a road race, with a combination of pavement and trails forming an out and back style course that begins and ends at the United Methodist Church, the end of the race is a brutally punishing uphill. Not only does the last section of the race contain a near continuous uphill climb, but the very last 200 meters or so are particularly painful, finishing on a sharp incline right by the church that saps the legs of even the strongest runners.

For race organizer Terry Boyer the course, which has remained the same for the entire history of the event, is one of the many quirks which makes the Spring Run such a renowned and memorable event every year.

“I say every year that we’ve lowered the finish line,” said Boyer of the infamous final climb to the line, though he notes with a laugh that the finish line has suspiciously remained at the same brutal location for 32 years.

In addition to its status as the oldest race in the area, the Spring Run can also lay claim to another distinction: most unique participation award. For several years now, the race has done away with shirts and instead gifts participants a tomato plant.

“We decided to do that a few years ago,” said Boyer of the peculiar race day gift, “we figured people had enough shirts in their closet, why not give them something different.”

The history of the race is not lost on Boyer, who recalls the inception of the Gold Country Grand Prix with fellow longtime organizer Joanie Bumpus. Boyer himself has pledged to run all 12 of the races in this year’s Grand Prix.

For Boyer the charitable aspect of the event is the primary concern.

“We do it for the love of it,” said Boyer, adding that the support of the local community for so many years remains a primary motivator to put on the best race possible every year.

Terry’s wife and fellow race organizer Mary Ann concurs with this sentiment, adding, “that’s what endears us to the race more than anything, the families doing the race together.”

The Spring Run; tomato plants, brutal hills, history and all, will celebrate its 33rd iteration on Saturday. For those running, it is a worthy challenge, and for those organizing it is a lasting piece of Nevada City’s past, present and future.

“This race is a part of the Grand Prix and Nevada City forever,” said Terry Boyer, adding that he looks forward to cresting that final hill with the rest of the pack yet again.

The 33rd annual Spring Run will take place at United Methodist Church in Nevada City at 8:30 a.m. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m and the cost of the event is $25.

Kael Newton is a Nevada County native and freelance journalist. He can be reached at or @KaelNewton on Twitter.

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