PERU — Twenty-two years ago, the Evans family got a helping hand.
Two years later, they decided to return the favor, and they continue doing it today.
When Don and Shirley Evans’s son Jon was in the midst of cancer treatment, family friends Scott Woodward and Mark Elmore organized a fundraising run to help the family with traveling costs and other expenses.
Jon died in 1991, but the family decided to keep the run going, using the funds to help other local families with seriously ill children.
The 23rd-annual run will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday at Forrence Orchards on Mannix Road.
“They’re a huge business enterprise, and not many like them would do something like this, I think,” Woodward said. “They have always been a tremendous help for us.”
About 300 runners of all levels are expected to take part, running through rows of trees heavily laden with ripening apples.
The event includes a 1.25-mile non-competitive walk, about a quarter-mile Fun Run for children and also the 2.5-mile Run for Jon.
Woodward said the runners who typically participate come from many backgrounds — some are casual runners, while others are professionals who’ve been regional and state champions.
“At the front, the race can be very competitive,” he said.
The Run for Jon is sanctioned by the Adirondack Association of the U.S.A. Track and Field Association.
‘A SWEET KID’
The Evans family brings along a picture of Jon every year so that is front and center as Woodward delivers a brief talk on his life.
As Jon’s former cross-country coach, Woodward reflects on many memories of a “sweet kid” breaking a sweat on the track and rising to become lead modified champion of the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference.
Mr. Evans said the race generally brings in about $3,000 to $4,000 a year. Throughout the year, that money is distributed to families in need.