EUGENE, Ore. — Thousands made their way to the start of an uphill battle Wednesday morning. The 39th year of the Butte to Butte was the second largest race ever, with more than 5,000 participants.
Whether it was a personal journey or just for fun, everyone was psyched to hit the pavement. Thousands shuffled to the starting line ready to conquer their goals.
“I am hoping to be standing upright at the end,” said Jane Kammerzelt.
Some run to remember.
“My nephew here said, why don’t we run in honor of dad,” said Patti Keiper.
Others do it for friendship.
“For her birthday I signed her up for the Shamrock Run, and so she told me she signed up for this,” said Liz Kruse.
“We wanted to celebrate the holiday and be patirotic and have fun,” said and Fawn Haase.
But Springfield native Shayna Gonzalez was in the race to win the fight of her life.
“I’m doing this for my health. My dad died at age 47. I’m doing it so I can see my kids grow up,” Gonzalez said.
Weighing more than 300 pounds, she came in nearly last place at last year’s Butte to Butte.
“I remember everyone cheering and saying yeah you did a good job, but for me that was humiliating,” Gonzalez said.
After the race, she jumped into action. That was 130 pounds ago. This year she planned to run as much as possible, with a goal of finishing in an hour and 15 minutes.
“I haven’t ran since high school. I’ve been heavy all my life. For me this is huge. I’m gonna feel like I’ve accomplished something I didn’t think I would accomplish,” Gonzalez said.
And she did that with flying colors, stomping the finish line and crushing her goal, at 57 minutes.
“I’m speechless. I don’t know if there’s enough words in the English language to describe what I’m feeling. I set the record pretty high. Next year I’m gonna have to break this. But I’ll be 50 lbs. lighter,” Gonzalez said.