MADras Runners to offer aid in form of financial grants and scholarships

Financial help for Jefferson County youth runners is now a little easier to come by, thanks to the group MADras Runners.

The nonprofit group, which is centered around promoting running and overall fitness in Jefferson County, has finalized both a scholarship and a grant to aid in the efforts of young people who want to get into running.

The scholarship, which is named the Jack Watts Memorial Schloarship after late Madras resident Jack Watts, has been something the group has been working on for quite a while.

“We wanted to give runners a unique opportunity to receive some money,” said Jamie Hurd, founder of MADras Runners. “We also wanted to keep it local.”

The scholarship will be available to Madras and Culver high school graduating seniors that are involved in track and field, cross country or both during their senior year – and have been accepted into an institution of higher learning.

Eligible students also need to have a cumulative (seven semesters) grade-point average of 2.5 or above, and must not be receiving a full scholarship from another source. For the group's purpose, a full scholarship is defined as one that covers 100 percent tuition.

The group also has a clause in the application that states the recipient must abide by the code of conducts set forth by each high school, and a violation of the code will result in immediate dismissal of scholarship opportunities. The application also contains a character requirement, saying that student-athletes should “conduct themselves at all times in a manner that reflects favorably not only on themselves and their family, but on our school district and communities as well.”

“We want the application to show us what kind of people the kids are, not just that they run,” Hurd said. “We want to incorporate some sort of personal level into this, so we can see who they are away from running.”

Hurd said the Central Oregon Running Klub, a Bend-based club that also offers a running scholarship, helped out with logistics of the application and the process.

“We modeled our application a lot like the one they do,” Hurd said. “They told us about the bumps in the road they hit so we could try to avoid those.”

The amount of the scholarship awarded will be dependent on how much money the group has to offer, but the application states it will be no less than $1,000 for one award winner.

In addition to the Jack Watts Memorial Scholarship, MADras Runners has just recently finished creating a grant for youth runners, separate from the scholarship.

The grant, which will be no more than $1,000 in amount, is open to any group in Jefferson County that supports youth running, or an individual that is involved in running in Jefferson County. Recipients of the grant may not be older than 18, and in order to receive funding, they must demonstrate how they will promote and/or enhance running in Jefferson County.

The group will offer multiple awards if they see fit. Applications for the scholarship and grant may be obtained from the MADras Runners website,

MADras Runners has been operating for a little more than two years, Hurd said, and reached its nonprofit status last summer. Hurd said both the scholarship and grant are big points of pride for the group, and they are very excited they can offer something to help support youth running in local communities.

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