Over 130 people including runners, walkers, firefighters, ROTC students and parents pushing strollers participated in the eighth annual Ellensburg’s Run for the Brave this past Sunday at Rotary Park, according to a news release from event organizers.

Blue skies and calm weather made for a beautiful morning for this charity 5K, which benefits local veterans and families of first responders injured or killed in the line of duty. This year it had a very personal dedication to Kittitas County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Thompson and City of Kittitas Police Officer Benito Chavez, victims of a tragic shooting in March in which Deputy Thompson died and Officer Chavez sustained serious injuries. Proceeds this year will be split between Officer Chavez to aid in his continued recovery, the family of Deputy Thompson and the local Kittitas County Veterans Coalition (KCVC), which provides important services to local veterans.

Opening remarks discussed this special dedication and the community’s gratitude for so many who provide crucial services to insure safety and security in Kittitas County and beyond. These include firefighters, police, medical personnel, dispatchers, highway patrol, paramedics and EMTs, those in the medical field and the military. Local student Lindsey Yaap then sang the National Anthem to warm applause from the crowd.

Overall winners were Dan Mollo and Kelly Pritchett, and KCVC president Billy Robbins was at the finish line to hand each participant a commemorative dog tag.

There were multiple teams in the run including Kittitas Valley Healthcare and Central Washington University Army ROTC, which won the civilian and military team categories respectively.

It is a tradition at this run for first responders to complete the run in their gear. The cool temperature that morning was just fine for those firefighters doing the 5K wearing the additional 65 pounds of gear. Some of those firefighters also pushed their children in strollers or carried them on their backs, no mean feat, The run had a record number of participants this year and raised approximately $6,000, also a record.

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