Area runners and walkers are challenged to help support the Hermiston High School cross country team.

In its 19th year, the Butte Challenge (which doesn’t involve running up the Hermiston Butte) is Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at Butte Park, 1245 N.W. Seventh St. Bib pick-up and race day registration begins at 7:30 a.m. The event features a 5K run, 5K walk and a 10K run. Awards, which includes medals for overall winners in each event, will be presented at 10 a.m. In addition, age group winners will receive a ribbon and one item from the Runner’s Soul. Door prize drawings will be held at 10:30 a.m.

The cost to pre-register is $20 or a family rate of $75 (for up to eight people). Race day registration is $25 per person.

“It’s the biggest fundraiser for the cross country team,” said Jeanne Jewett, Hermiston Herald/East Oregonian multi-media consultant.

Jewett, who has been involved with organizing the event since its inception, took the reins in 2005. It brings in several thousand dollars each year, she said.

Initially, the Butte Challenge donated proceeds to various nonprofit organizations. Jewett said when Jake Puzey returned to his alma mater as the cross country coach, he inquired about partnering for the event to become a fundraiser for the team.

With Puzey on board, Jewett said he organized chip-timing and course markings. When Puzey left the position, Troy Blackburn, a Stanfield High School graduate, was hired as the cross country coach and has continued working on the Butte Challenge.

“It’s a great family event,” Jewett said. “Also, we have fabulous drawing afterwards. We have such generous participation from local businesses.”

For more information or to register, visit www.buttechallenge.com.

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