Three years ago, Justin Borton and his small cohort of die-hard Sonoma County trail runners began meeting at 6:30 sharp every Tuesday morning to tackle the 1300-foot behemoth at the heart of Taylor Mountain Regional Park, making it up to the summit and back down, rain or shine, before most Sonoma Countians had their breakfast. The brutal 1100-foot climb hasn’t grown much over the years, but Borton’s network of Sonoma County Trail Runners certainly has. And it is this group, ranging from weekend warriors to elite athletes, that has formed the base of the #SonomaStrong Parks Restoration Challenge, created in the wake of the most devastating wildfires in California history.
The goal of the Restoration Challenge is to raise at least $40,000 to directly benefit the Sonoma County Parks ravaged by the wildfires, primarily by sending as many Sonoma County Trail Runners as Borton and his cohorts can muster to Ragnar Trail Tahoe in 2018. Borton hopes to build 10 relay teams, comprised of 75+ trail runners, to represent Sonoma County at Ragnar this year, with proceeds being donated directly to Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation Wildfire Restoration Fund. The #SonomaStrong Parks Restoration Challenge is also accepting cash donations from those who cannot run on a #SonomaStrong team at Ragnar Trail Tahoe, as well as sponsoring trail maintenance and rebuilding events for those who would like to support the challenge by getting their hands dirty.
So much was lost in these devastating fires, and yet the sense of community and comrade in Sonoma County has never been stronger. “We’ve come together to form an alliance, and challenge ourselves to raise money to help rebuild our local parks – the parks that bring our community together and provide respite from this stressful and painful experience. We will be running in Tahoe this summer to raise funds for the parks and hope that other runners coming out to Ragnar Trail Tahoe this year will be inspired to help us with our mission to raise at least $40,000 for the parks restoration effort. Join us to help our community remain #SonomaStrong.” -Justin Borton
To see more about their initiatives, and to see updates you can view their Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/SonomaStrongChallenge/