RUNNING: Paint the Town Blue for Mitch 5K/10K set for Sunday
Special to The Union
In so many ways, a footrace can encompass and entail so much more than the simple act of running from one place to the other as quickly as possible.
A race can represent the culmination of weeks, months or even years of preparation; it can mean the realization of a goal achieved or the conquering of one’s fears; in many cases, a race may be just an opportunity to be active with a community of friends and family. In the case of the fourth annual Paint the Town Blue for Mitch 5K/10K — to be held at Nevada Union High School on Sunday — the race itself signifies something greater.
Mitch Adams passed away in August of 2015 as the result of a car accident. He was 16 years old. The race was created shortly thereafter by classmates of Mitch and has been helmed by his mother Monica Adams in recent editions.
The race is in its third year as a member of the Gold Country Grand Prix, and the funds from the event go to a scholarship in Mitch Adams’ name as well as Nevada Union football, Nevada Union athletics and the Sierra Dance Institute. These fundraising efforts have been a resounding success, with the race contributing $6,800 to the Mitch Adams Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to an NU graduate each year. Mitch never got to play in his number 68 uniform for the Miners, but that number now serves as a poignant memory of him every year through the events contributions.
“Mitch was super excited to go to college, so that was just a super logical choice to help someone else go to college with the race,” said Monica, adding, “we do it as a celebration of him.”
The event is largely a labor of love and remembrance, but as with any race it also requires significant support from the community. Monica is effusive in her praise of all the donors, supporters and runners of all kinds who come out every year to run and honor Mitch’s memory.
“We reached out and said we needed help, and people helped,” Monica said of the initial support she received.
The inaugural running of the Paint the Town Blue race was a learning experience for her.
“There was so much I didn’t know that I didn’t know,” she said, remarking upon the many intricacies involved with putting on a race that drew nearly 200 participants last year. She recalls not even having a starting gun that first time out, and instead starting the race with a “3, 2, 1, for Mitch!” cry to start the run; this has since become a tradition of the race, and a fitting enunciation of the meaning of the event.
“I’m so proud to be part of this community, and so grateful,” said Monica, who hopes that the race will remain a staple of the racing calendar for years to come.
Although the support for the race comes from all corners of both the running and greater local community, Adams points specifically to Dan Cooper, who serves as the event’s course coordinator, and Nevada Union Athletic Director Jeff Dellis as key figures in the success of the Paint the Town Blue run.
When the participants of the fourth annual Paint the Town Blue for Mitch race toe the line on Sunday, every one of them will have a different reason for being there, a different journey that has brought them there. And yet they will all have one thing in common, and that is the cause that is Mitch.
The fourth annual Paint the Town Blue for Mitch run will take place at Nevada Union High School at 10 a.m. Sunday. To register, visit https://5kfor68.com/. Registration is available the day of the race as well, starting at 9 a.m. The cost of the event is $25.
Kael Newton is a Nevada County native and freelance journalist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @KaelNewton on Twitter.
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