Dedicated to giving back to local youth

Group puts all money they receive toward supporting track teams in Palouse



Palouse Road Runners members Ben Calabretta, left, Cara Hawkins-Jedlicka, Nicholas Potter and Carole Williams warm up prior to their weekly workout at the Dan O’Brien Track and Field Complex in Moscow.

DYLAN GREENE, Evergreen deputy sports editor

A constant thumping of shoes connecting with the ground can be heard over the gasps of people reaching for air as sweat and exhaustion covers their face.

“15 seconds,” Cara Hawkins-Jedlicka shouts.

The intensity of the thumping increases and then a whistle blows signaling a transition from running at a 5k pace to a more relaxed jog for the Palouse Road Runners, a local running club boasting over a thousand members.

This workout, called the Brad Hudson’s Fartlek, is just one part of the weekly routine for the non-profit organization and Hawkins-Jedlicka, who is the coach of the Road Runners.

“I like yelling at people,” Hawkins-Jedlicka said, “which is awful to say but I just like cheering people on and making sure they’re sharing my knowledge.”

Every Tuesday, Hawkins-Jedlicka leads a workout for the group. She is a former Division II track and field and cross-country athlete from Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee, which was a college when she attended.

Hawkins-Jedlicka started competing in the sport at 13-years-old, and when she made her way to the Palouse four years ago, she was looking for a group that would keep her connected to the thing she loved.

The Road Runners did just that. She started competing in races and group events they held and tried to attend the weekly workouts, but she felt 6 p.m. was a little late for her. So, she went a half an hour early and did the workouts on her own.

In December 2016, Hawkins-Jedlicka took over as coach of the Road Runners and enjoys having something to do after work.

“This is so unrelated to my job, but it’s great to be out here,” Hawkins-Jedlicka said.

During her time competing in college, Hawkins-Jedlicka’s team didn’t have a track of their own so they had to go to a nearby high school to practice.

Hawkins-Jedlicka said the Road Runners are committed to providing youth in the community with funding to ensure this doesn’t happen to them.

“Its kind of a big deal,” she said. “We want there to be that opportunity.”

Ben Calabretta, a Road Runners board member and the associate director of WSU’s Center for Civic Engagement, said all the money the group receives through races and the selling of gear helps support youth track teams in the area.

Calabretta said the group partners with local businesses and track teams to help put on these events with the goal of investing in infrastructure that will help youth be active. He said the Road Runners want to promote a healthy lifestyle and that starts with giving kids in rural communities a chance to run.

“We want to be active,” Calabretta said, “we know how good it is for us personally and we want other people to experience that too.”

The Road Runners hold five main races throughout the year; the Snake River Canyon Half Marathon, the Palouse 100K Relay and Solo, the Palouse 10K Summer Series, the Moscow Mountain Madness and Fall Flash 10K.

Calabretta said being a part of the Road Runners combines three things he loves — the Palouse, running and community involvement.

Nicholas Potter, the WSU student representative on the Road Runners board, said besides the major races the organization puts on, they also have weekly social runs on Thursdays and group runs on Sundays.

The organization has a Facebook page with over 1,200 members as well and Potter said people post on it frequently to create meet up spots to go for a run.

Potter is a second-year doctorate student in the economics program, and when he first moved to Pullman he participated in the Moscow Mountain Madness and slowly became more involved with the Road Runners.

“In general, our lives are pretty comfortable,” Potter said, “and running is sort of a way of putting yourself in a controlled situation where things aren’t comfortable and seeing how long you can push against that.”

Potter said he runs about 75 miles a week and admitted that the routine can become tiring. Sometimes he wishes he didn’t run that much.

“I usually kind of crash and burn in October,” Potter joked.

An annual membership to the Palouse Road Runners costs $15 and includes a discount at local running stores.

Potter said being a part of the Road Runners and the sport has helped him get out of his isolated office and become more involved with the community.

“I’ve gone from stuck or unsatisfied with life in general,” Potter said, “to feeling like I’m in charge of making the decisions about what I want my life to look like.”

For more information about the organization visit