Run for the Honor (not for the joy): Northridge student doesn’t like running but founded a 5K to raise money for the Honor Flight | MyWindsorNow.com

Run for the Honor (not for the joy): Northridge student doesn’t like running but founded a 5K to raise money for the Honor Flight

Dan England
dengland@greeleytribune.com

Jordan Gage does not like to run. He plays football and baseball for Northridge High School, and he looks like it too. He looks big and strong and tall. He doesn't look like those skinny marathon runners.

"I don't have the body type to be a runner," Gage said and laughed.

Even so, he's organizing a 5K for the third year in a row. His race takes place at Bittersweet Park. The Weld County Veterans Memorial is located there. That's why he's doing the race. He's doing it because he admires the people the memorial honors. It's not because he loves the sport.

Gage hosts the race to raise money for the Honor Flight of Northern Colorado program, which flies veterans out to Washington D.C. to see the memorials that honor them.

"War seems like a pretty crazy idea to me," Gage said, "and the fact that people were willing to just rush into that seems so brave."

Gage wants to be a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, and he's started the process to apply for admission. He got the idea for a run from his gifted and talented program coordinator — "I think that's what the program is called now," Gage said and laughed — and he admits he hadn't heard of the Honor Flight upon hearing the suggestion. Now he's a big supporter.

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So is the race. Three years ago, at the first race, just about 170 ran or walked it, and he raised $4,000. The second year attracted about the same people, but some corporate sponsors helped push the money raised to $16,000. He's on track to match those numbers this year, at least in the number of participants.

Gage had no idea how to put on a race that first year. He was just a sophomore in high school. He had to secure volunteers, sponsors and talk to Doug Bell, former longtime owner of Bells Running, and Marshall Parks, an experienced runner who helps with many races. Bell designed the course and Parks helped things run smoothly. His mother, Carolyn, devised some strange but really effective system of getting all the race packets together that he and his father still don't really understand.

"You talk to some runners, and they talk about how weird a race was because the organizer didn't know much," Gage said. "I didn't want it to be that kind of race."

Now that this is his third year, things are much smoother. He hopes to get volunteers from the National Honor Society for this year's race — he's the president — and he's still got his mother working those packets.

He hopes the race can continue when he leaves for college or the Air Force next year (he eventually hopes to be an aerospace engineer and a pilot; maybe he can man the first mission to Mars). He has some ideas on how to get help from others to keep the race going.

There is, however, a downside if the race does happen next year. He's too busy to participate in the event because he's making sure everything goes off as planned. He wouldn't have that problem next year.

"I'd probably have to come back and run it," Gage said. "I'm already not looking forward to that."

To run

The Run for the Honor starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Weld County Veterans Memorial in Bittersweet Park, on the corner of 16th Street and 35th Avenue in Greeley.

Registration starts on race day at 8:30 a.m.

If you want to register early, you can go to Bells Running, 3620 10th St., for a registration form, or contact Jordan Gage at Jordan.gage64@gmail.com.

You are guaranteed a shirt if you register by Monday. All proceeds benefit Honor Flight Northern Colorado.

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