Moscow Mountain Madness connects runners of all roads

Race emphasizes teamwork, nature with focus on fundraising



Ben Calabretta, a Palouse Road Runners board member and the associate director at the Center for Civic Engagement, participates in the group’s weekly workout at the Dan O’Brien Track and Field Complex on May 22.

MAGGIE QUINLAN, Evergreen reporter

Runners enjoyed one of the Palouse Road Runners’ four major annual races, Moscow Mountain Madness on Sunday morning. The race on Moscow Mountain started in 1978 and this year’s race included three options: 50K, 13.1 miles or 5 miles.

For Moscow Mountain Madness, co-director Ron Horton said the race averages about 100 participants each year.

“It’s a pretty low-key race,” Horton said. “But you get to see a lot of the mountain and really enjoyable courses.”

Horton said the Moscow Area Mountain Bike Association built the most challenging trails. He said MAMBA and Palouse Road Runners work together to give runners a beautiful experience.

Justin Fischer, a Palouse Road Runners board member, said the beauty of Moscow Mountain adds to the joy of the race.

“I love to be out in nature,” Fischer said. “You go out and run 16 miles in a day, you’re gonna see some cool stuff you’d never get to see otherwise.”

He said Moscow Mountain Madness is one of his favorite races.

“I’ve fallen in love with trail running over the past three years or so,” Fischer said. “It’s just what I do now. I try to get out on the trails as much as I can, once or twice a week.”

Horton said he also runs several times a week, especially on Moscow Mountain trails. The same course runners whiz through for the race is where Horton goes in the winter for snowshoeing.

These races aren’t all about beauty, and Moscow Mountain Madness prides itself on giving back to the community. Horton said Road Runners is a nonprofit organization which sponsors and puts on races throughout the year and is able to make money through its events.

“We pay our volunteer groups that come help us for our races, and we do used sports grants for our local running groups,” Horton said. “Last year, between our volunteers and our used sports grants, we donated $10,500 back into the community.”

Horton said runners from the Lewiston-Clarkston valley and from around the Palouse come up for their races.

“It’s a very active running community,” Horton said. “There’s a lot of back and forth.”

For those beginning to gain an interest in running, the Palouse Road Runners hosts weekly informational events. Road Runners’ coach Cara Hawkins-Jedlicka leads a track workout Tuesday nights and a social run Thursdays.

“The motto of that run is ‘No one’s left behind,’ ” Fischer said. “Everybody runs with somebody. It’s really geared toward interacting with people and encouraging, and usually afterwards people will grab a beer.”

The next race series after Moscow Mountain Madness will be Oct. 14 with the Fall Flash of the Palouse.