Sophomore cross country and track and field runner Aksel Thomson recently collected over 100 pounds of food for the Methow Valley Food Bank through a fun run at Liberty Bell High School held on May 21.
Thomson organized and executed the Fun Run as a school requirement to accomplish a special project during his sophomore year.
Thirty-two participants, ranging in ages from 8 to 72 years old, braved threatening weather to run or walk the 3.1 mile (5 kilometer) course, used in the fall for the annual Liberty Bell Invitational Cross Country Meet. Indeed, the rain held off for most of the event, but enveloped the course and campus in a steady, enthusiastic spring shower before the final walkers crossed the finish line.
Liberty Bell teacher and junior high cross country coach Liam Daily took the top spot, running away from Mountain Lion eighth-grader Bodie Thomson with about a half mile to go.
Aksel Thomson just likes to run and thought combining the Fun Run with an entry fee of a donation of food would be a good project.
“I’m hoping that it will become an annual event,” Thomson said. “Mr. Wilbur [Activities Director Michael Wilbur] liked the idea and said he would like it to happen again, like every year.”
Glenn Schmekel, executive director of The COVE, the nonprofit overseer of the Methow Valley Food Bank, was highly appreciative of Tomson’s efforts.
“He called here a month ago and asked if he could use the Food Bank as the beneficiary of the event, and I was, well, good with that,” said Schmekel. “I always appreciate when we are able to connect with the kids at the schools for stuff like this. It helps them and blesses us so much.”
It was a family event for Thomson, with parents Jackie and Josh and younger brother Caleb helping with set up and other tasks, sister Bailey at the check-in station and Bodie handling the post-race awards and prizes. Track and field coach Erik Brooks, besides running in the event, also provided the faculty mentorship for the project.