Cline: Ella's Run An Event Worth Planning For

Todd Cline

Todd Cline

This past weekend, like seemingly every day since July, flew by, leaving me to wonder how it is that the pools are closing, college and pro football are kicking off and the days are getting shorter. We can all relate to it getting dark earlier, it's like the closing of the blinds on your goals and chores for the summer.

All those projects you had planned? Forget about it. They can't compete against the shortened days. Or the NFL Sunday Ticket. Let's face it, what you didn't get done this past weekend probably isn't getting done. But while the remodeling can wait until next year, it's not too late to start planning your fall outings.

One that stands out in my mind after watching a recent edition of "Dateline NBC" is the 4th Annual Ella's 5K, Fun Run and Mud Run, held Oct. 8 and put on by the organization Right to Hike. The organization is dedicated to celebrating the life of Meredith Hope Emerson, whose story is very familiar to Gwinnettians. Fond of nature and a lover of pets, especially her dog Ella, Emerson loved to hike. Her murder after being abducted while hiking was recounted on the NBC show, but so was her love of life and love of the outdoors.

That vitality and love of nature is what her friends want to celebrate with Ella's Run, and the funds collected from the event go toward fulfilling Right to Hike's mission statement: that all people have the right to live without fear. Through the run and other fundrasiers, Right To Hike has been able to purchase emergency cellphone units to local parks, trails and greenways. So far the organization has donated three phones -- one at Sugar Hill's Gary Pirkle Park, another located on the Suwanee Greenway and one at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center, which hosts Ella's Run.

I haven't had the chance to participate in Ella's Run, but several co-workers have. This year I plan to join them in an event that features a competitive 5K race (for my co-workers) and Fun Run and Walk (for me). There's also a new twist this year -- a mud run that will take competitors on a cross country tour through mud pits that surround the Heritage Center. Pets are welcome and after the race there is a festival-type atmosphere that encourages folks to stick around.

Pre-registration cost is $20 for the 5K, $10 for the Fun Run and $25 for the Mud Run. You can register by going to active.com.

Ella's Run is a month away, but if you're like me it's best to pencil in now before your calendar is filled. But if you are more of a spur-of-the-moment person, you can visit Wild Wing Cafe in Suwanee (located at 3265 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road) tonight from 5 p.m. to midnight for a special Right To Hike night. The Daniels Brothers band will play and portions of all checks will be donated to Right to Hike.

Whether it's by dining out tonight or running on Oct. 8 (or doing both), it's a fun way to support a worthy cause. And a good way to keep the fall from getting away from you like summer did.

Email Todd Cline at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His columns appear on Wednesdays.