Staching for a big cause

Runners take off at the beginning of the 5k race. This is the fourth annual Staching Through the Snow race.

Madisen Paulson

The fourth annual “Staching Through the Snow” memorial run in honor of Sheriff Mark Hecker took place on Sat., Nov. 18.

This event began after the tragic loss of Sheriff Mark Hecker from a heart attack three years ago. The accident brought attention to high school special education teacher Tiffany Heins. Heins is the daughter of Hecker, and she wanted a way to incorporate his legacy into a special event which led to a 5k run where all proceeds went to families in need during the holidays.

“My family and I dove right into starting this project after my father passed away three years ago,” Heins said. “My father was all about giving back during the holidays with meals, basic toiletries, and even gifts. He showed me that giving back is way more than you can receive yourself.”

Through the past three years, Staching Through the Snow has progressively grown larger in the amounts of runners.

“We have had children as young as three run in the race, and last year a man over 80 years old ran,” Heins said. “This event has really expanded from the beginning, and people are now coming in from Lincoln, Madison, and even different states. It shows that people actually understand the importance of such an awesome event, and we can all come together as people and as a community to help those in need.”

The race used to be the Saturday after Thanksgiving but shortly changed to the weekend before the holiday. This change gave those that were not able to participate following the holiday a more likely chance.

“I have ran in Staching Through the Snow since it first started,” senior Lauren Hoeft said. “Although I was not able to participate this year, I always enjoy running and watching the whole community and even people from outside of the community all run together for a great cause.”

This year, there were 208 runners/walkers in the race with 24 vendors selling items. The event raised over $3,398 from registered runners, donations, and vendors. A $1,000 grant was also given to the Backpack Program before the race started.

“I knew that no matter the weather or the amount of runners, or even the amount of gifts you receive for Christmas, we are making a step in the right direction, and our little event can make a big difference,” Heins said. “It isn’t about the glory. It is about helping.”