BILLINGS – Thousands enjoyed the Montana Women’s Run, even with a little rain on Saturday.
A little more than 7,000 signed up for the 37th annual run, but organizers say it looked like some stayed away because of the weather.
A musician played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes and balloons were released for a woman who was part of the women’s run board.
“We set off the balloons in honor of Pat Jaffray, our board member who passed away last year, ” said Ekkie Wedul, administrator for Montana Women’s Run board. “Been on the board since the beginning. Our biggest cheerleader. Just kind of an emotional morning.”
And then it was time to run and walk in the rain.
“We’re Montanans,” Wedul said. “We’re not used to rain. It’s kind of unique, so we get wet.”
“Snow wouldn’t stop us either,” said Letticia Olson, who ran with her family. “We’d still be out here.”
A lot of people did not come to the award ceremony, but the rain didn’t keep them away from run itself. For many of them, it’s all about family.
“My daughter did it with me,” Wedul said. “It was special.”
“Because it’s mother’s day weekend, so we do our run and then we go out to the cemetery and do flowers for our mother,” said Letticia Olson. “And go out to lunch and then go do pedicures afterwards. We do that every year. “
Another family ran for loved ones.
“I’m running for Angela Whiteman,” said Rennie Pena. “She’s my daughter killed in a car wreck on February 4, 2017.”
Pena and her family also ran for another relative, Shana Red Cherries, who died in October.
“Another family brought four generations ranging in age from 6 to 92.
“I’m glad I could finish at least,” said Donna Bowersox, 92. “I didn’t know if I would for a while.”
“Just thought it would be really awesome to have four generations walk together,” said Ashley Emmons, Bowersox’s granddaughter. “And she’s a huge inspiration. My daughters get to see her do this. I think it’s a pretty awesome thing. We’re all really proud.”
“Great mother,” Sheryl Newlin said about Bowersox. “Lots of inspiration in her life.”
“I like running,” said Rose Red Star, Whiteman’s daughter. “It’s special and doing it for my mom makes it more special.”
“I like spending time with my grandma and my mom,” said Alayna Olson, Letticia’s granddaughter.
“A lot of them, it’s their tradition,“ Wedul said.“
Since 1994 the Montana Women’s Run has donated over $1.2 million dollars to the Billings community.
Reporting by David Jay for MTN News