Commentary

Oregon runners sprint to Idaho

Originally Published: April 1, 2010
By Joe Farris | Special to Page 2

BAKER CITY, Ore. -- For local cross-country standouts and lifelong best friends Nathan Hawkey and Russ Coollidge, pushing each other during off-season runs has been a recipe for success.

So on Saturday, when the two friends set out for their "Big Day" it was a foregone conclusion that they would be putting their legs and their limits to the test. What they didn't know was after lacing up their Nike Air Max running shoes they would end up in another time zone.

"If I knew we where going to run to another state, I would have picked one with a nice beach and some hotties," said a straight-faced Coollidge, whose barely noticeable blond moustache makes you wonder if every thing this kid says is a sarcastic joke.

But for these young competitors, pushing each other is no laughing matter. What started out as playful goal setting ended with the two friends crossing the Snake River.

"I'm looking around and we're running through downtown Enterprise and it's only noon," said a smiling Hawkey. Enterprise, Ore., is 45 miles away from where they started. Hawkey adds, "Then Coolio starts pointing at the signs to Idaho half joking, and I say 'let's do it!"

What happened next is nothing short of remarkable. The boys jogged another 20 miles to Idaho, 65 miles total, stopping only once to call their moms. "We were worried they (their mothers) would call the cops," said Coollidge, "plus we wanted a ride home."

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