Beamer run always full of memories


by: PIONEER FILE PHOTO - Runners hit the road at the start of last year's Todd Beamer run. This year's run is Friday.For Bud Beamer, the spirit of his son Todd will always carry on.

Beamer has made certain of that.

It has been 18 long years since Beamer lost his son in a drowning accident. The memories are always there, but each May, they come flooding back a little harder than normal.

At that time of year, Beamer goes through the process of organizing a 10K that started off as a way to honor his son. Over time, it has become one of the more popular running events in the area, as well as a way to fund a local scholarship.

The run will be held again this year, starting at 7 a.m. Friday at Sahalee Park. Along with the 10K, there is the annual six-mile walk and two-mile fun run. Runners can register the day of the event.

As much fun as the event is for participants, it is just as hard on the man who runs it.

“It’s a tough time of year. You would think you would move through it, but it seems to get more intense when you see what could have been," Beamer said. "He was unique in so many ways and you just wish there would be more people like him. The impact he would have had and how much you miss that."

"This part of June, and the end of May, you just remember the smells, the Western star over the peak of Mount Jefferson," Beamer said. "“All of that, every year, it cycles back."

The annual Fourth of July Independence Run was already an established event in Madras back in 1997, drawing many not only from the community, but the surrounding area for a nice holiday run. Beamer has built on that foundation, both as a means of healing and a way to keep Todd part of the community.

“We already had had good turnouts and an established course, which was fun,” Beamer said. “So we just changed the name (of the event). It brings out a lot of his friends and a lot of people who were close to me, Todd and the family. So it’s more than just a race, it’s a get-together and it means a lot to us.”

Beamer has participated in each of the 18 races in many different capacities. He has run in a few, organizes all of them and more importantly, has a few words of wisdom for those who run just before the group heads off on a route that Beamer says brings out the best of central Oregon.

“I try to make it more than just a race,” Beamer said. “We have a little service at the start from up there (along Grizzly Road) and I’m always so proud of Madras, coming in from that view. You see the town and the mountains and people from out of town never really see our community — they never realize what we have here.”

His message is a deep one and gives everyone plenty to think about during and after the run.

“Those things that we do for ourselves die with us when we die. Those things that we do for others, go on and on,” Beamer said. “(I want them to) think about doing some things in their life to make relationships better. And you hope by doing this, because that’s the way Todd was, he was so oriented toward other people and coaching and teaching, I know he would have made a huge difference.”

“Thirty years of a career go by and all the kids that you coach and teach, it changes them and it changes their family,” Beamer said. “By doing this race, I hope to change a few lives and it keeps the externalist to his existence.”

Part of the charm of the event is its small-town attitude, something that Beamer really relishes about Madras.

He has heard racers from Bend, Redmond or Sisters comment on how unique the event is. There is a small-town feel that comes through with the breakfast, the parade and the run.

“You know, they don’t get that in big cities. Even in Bend, they don’t get that sense of community,” Beamer said. “We’re proud of that.”