ETNA GREEN – An Etna Green tradition will be resurrected when Heritage Park welcomes the Randy Miner Memorial Country Run June 7.
Miner founded the Country Run in 1979 and it remained popular for two decades as a kickoff for the annual Etna Green Fourth of July Parade. But as the holiday tradition faded the Country Run died with it, according to memorial run organizer Todd Hoffer, who considers the late Miner his best friend.
“We were both Etna natives and he mentored (and) coached me as a high school cross country runner,” Hoffer said. “Thirty years later just before his death we reconnected as friends and musicians playing in a band together.”
Miner passed away unexpectedly in July 2012 after a reaction to dye injected during a routine exam.
“His death devastated all who knew him. Bringing his race back to Etna Green is our way of honoring him,” Hoffer said in his event announcement.
Miner and his family ran together often. Hoffer said they would pack up every weekend and travel to whatever small town was offering a chance to compete and meet new friends.
“They were regulars at all the events and it didn’t take long until Randy became an unforgettable figure even in a large crowd,” Hoffer said. “He had an unmatched gift for making people smile. When Randy started recruiting young talented athletes from larger cities the Country Run soon became a must-stop on the circuit and a very competitive event.”
The Country Run attracted over 300 people during the peak of the running boom of the 1980s, said Hoffer, who added that Miner called it “the biggest little race you’ll ever run.”
Miner also incorporated his love of woodworking, which he learned from his father, by crafting wooden clock trophies for the overall winners. He and his wife, Nancy, started a shop called Wood-N-Stuff in Warsaw.
Traditional wooden clock trophies will be given to the overall winners in both races during the memorial run, and trophies to the top three in each age group in the four-mile race.
The weekend’s activities start with communitywide garage sales June 6 and 7. Other activities include food, such as an Amish bake sale, chicken and grilled brats and burgers; door prizes, including a 40-inch flat screen TV; and a live radio broadcast by Oldies 98.3 WIOE.
The one-mile race starts at 4:30 p.m. June 7 and the four-mile race at 5 p.m.
Race-day registration June 7 is from 2 to 4 p.m., or register in advance at etnacountryrun.com Information is also available at facebook.com/randyscountryrun