In 2009, Craig Dickson and Rachael Jamison started running together on a regular basis. On these runs, they would talk about local and world events. Eventually, they started dreaming about how they could make a difference in addressing some of the multitudes of challenges facing the world: people without food, water bodies being degraded, diseases running rampant without sufficient funding for research to find cures…. At the time, Rachael was the Executive Director of a non-profit organization (the Olympia Action Network) that, for a couple years, had organized monthly volunteer events: from processing garlic at Left Foot Organics, to planting over 2000 trees for the City of Olympia, to cleaning and organizing the SafePlace houses, to helping build houses for Habitat for Humanity and more…. It was getting increasingly more difficult to get people excited about spending a day doing hard labor, often in the pouring down rain.
Craig had, for many years, dreamed and talked about putting on an event that would ask runners to get to three check-points at different water towers in Olympia. Rachael, having just spent a day with the Olympia Action Network doing work with People for Puget Sound, suggested hosting the race as a benefit for the organization. Craig, who had extensive experience of his own with both hosting races and making them “count” (did you know Craig is responsible for the Geoduck Gallop and the fact that it is a benefit for the Thurston County Food Bank?) thought it was a great idea. The two decided to make a poster and call the race “3 Towers.”
The first year “3 Towers” was held, a hand-drawn poster was made and hung up just two weeks before the event. Around 35 people showed up and several hundred dollars were raised for People for Puget Sound. And so the seed was planted…. The two worked beautifully together (and happened to fall in love with one another in the process) and decided to start a running organization with a two-fold mission: create a safe and supportive environment for runners of all ages and abilities to explore their potential and host races to benefit other organizations doing good work in the community.
Rachael had done quite a bit of work in grant writing and grant administration and recognized that often, when organizations are given large sums of money, there are quite a few strings attached. Guerilla Running wanted to give “no strings” monetary donations after each race to organizations that exemplified the values of Guerilla Running: community support, human and environmental health, and individual empowerment! Since the first 3 Towers race, Guerilla Running has donated well over $20,000 to organizations based in and doing work in the greater Olympia community. We have hosted volunteer days at organizations and our community runs have collected everything from pet food, to school supplies, to money for even more organizations!
Over time, people started asking for training groups and coaching – how often do you have access to a world class runner and coach, right? So, Guerilla Running began to host training groups for distances ranging from the 5K to the marathon. The philosophy has always been to keep the training groups small so that each person can receive individual attention and care. Smaller groups also, in our opinion, better foster a sense of community as people are able to create deep and lasting friendships built on weeks of working together toward a goal.
As Guerilla Running continued to grow, Rachael and Craig brought on a number of other people to help coach, organize, coordinate, etc. (they both, after all, have day jobs!). What has been created is a TEAM of wonderful people who do a tremendous amount of work both on the front lines and behind the scenes to keep the revolution marching forward….
Guerilla Running is proof that a dreams, when combined with hard work, an amazing community, and wonderful TEAM, can come true! Thank YOU for being part of the revolution!
VIVA LA REVOLUTION!