First came the Hope Ride, now – 33 years later - comes the Hope Run/Walk.

The Hope Ride was born in 1988 thanks to the ambition and vision of Paul Ashbrook. After all those years, the Hope Ride continues to be a yearly community tradition – vital to its well-being.

On Saturday, August 7 – the hope is that another new, long-standing community tradition will be born – the Hope Run/Walk. Proceeds from the Hope Run/Walk will benefit HSJ Online (along with 15% going to the Hauser Athletic Department).

Having spent my first 15 years as a professional educator at Hauser, I know how important a sense of “community” is to the citizens of Hope. The combination of my continued fondness for the Hope community, being a periodic contributing writer to HSJ Online and being an avid runner gave birth to the idea of putting together a “5Kish” Run/Walk to raise funds to aid in the operations of HSJ Online.

When longtime Hope resident, Hope Elementary teacher and HSJ Committee member – David Webster – was approached with the idea, he thought it was worth a shot. Well, here we are, just a few short weeks away from our 1st attempt at what is hoped will become an event that will only grow with time…

That first Hope Ride – back in 1988 – drew 13 riders. That’s right – 13 riders. At its peak, the Hope Ride drew over 2,200 riders from over seven states.

“Over the past few years, average attendance has been around 1,500 happy riders,” stated an energetic Paul Ashbrook - the event’s founder.

While proceeds from this 1st Hope Run/Walk will benefit both HSJ Online and the Hauser Athletic Department, the hope is that the sky’s the limit for future Hope Runs/Walks – just as the Hope Ride has grown over the years from its humble origins.

“Hope Ride is nearing $800,000 raised and passed along to folks and organizations in need,” replied Ashbrook in regards to how much money the event has raised during its 33-year existence. Some of the local organizations that have benefited from the Hope Ride include: Hope Food Bank, Hauser High School Dollars for Scholars, Hope Summer Playground, the Hope, Clifford and Hartsville Volunteer Fire Departments, Hope Police Reserves – along with another dozen, or so, charities and organizations.

Along with the monetary assistance the Hope Ride provides for the community, it also helps to provide – and remind – its citizens of the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

“The Hope Ride’s legacy includes the idea of distance cycling as a fun and healthy activity available to folks of all shapes and sizes,” replied Ashbrook – a professed cycling enthusiast.

Certainly, one of the goals of the August 7 Hope Run/Walk is to promote adopting a lifestyle that includes regular exercise to go along with giving back to the community.

If interested in participating in the Hope “5Kish” Run/Walk, there are a number of ways to register for the event. Registration forms can be picked up in Hope (around the square) at Special by Design, WILLow LeaVes or Miller Insurance. Forms are also available in Columbus at Hoosier Sporting Goods, Henry Chiropractic and White River Running Company. Please feel free to email me with any questions you might have about the event at tgrimes824@gmail.com.

We hope to see you there the morning of August 7 for the 1st inaugural Hope Run/Walk. Let’s turn this into yet another event for which the community can be very proud.