Lincoln City grocery store manager Jason Zacher knows he can't win Sunday's Lincoln City Half-Marathon and 10K without the aid of some drastic measures.
"I could go 'Nancy Kerrigan' on his leg, although he could probably still beat me on crutches," said Zacher, referring to the Olympic skating assault victim and the kind of steps necessary to beat dominant local racer Adam Shimer in the Sunday, March 4, race, which is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. with nearly 400 runners and walkers at Wapiti Park.
Getting physical with the competition before a competitive yet leisurely race is probably not a good idea, especially when the main competition and clear-cut favorite is a cop.
The presence of Shimer, an Oregon State Trooper who has monopolized the local racing scene over the past couple of years, helped prompt Zacher to ask himself, ‘Why not run for a cause?’”
And what better one, he asked, than Angels Anonymous?
"I just passed you for Angels Anonymous," slower runners will see printed on the back of Zacher's bright red T-shirt when he blows past them on the race route after starting dead last in a field of several hundred runners.
"It just seemed like a logical choice because Angels Anonymous is such a good charity," said Zacher, who has partnered with others to generate at least $1,575 in pledges (and as much as $1,800 at $6.30 per runner passed as of Tuesday morning press time) in the fourth annual event on an out-and-back course on Drift Creek Road, Anderson Creek Road and Schooner Creek Road. "They help so many people who need help, and I like the fact that 100 percent of the money they raise goes right to charity.”
While the local running community likely will recognize Shimer, a former University of Washington runner, Zacher, a 40-year-old 1989 Taft High graduate, will be inconspicuous, at best.
"People see me about," said Zacher, who runs 55 miles per week. "They don’t know me, but they know the green shoes because they see them about everywhere.”
Still, he recognizes he has little chance of overtaking runners such as Shimer.
“He [Shimer] would have beat me by six minutes this year even if I did start in front," Zacher said.
Zacher said a good friend of his who wrote a book about running in 52 marathons in 52 weeks came up with the idea of the pledge for passing fellow competitors and shared it with him about a year ago.
After hurting a tendon a little more than a month ago, Zacher was told to rest for about three weeks to heal, causing a slow start at getting the word out on his fundraising endeavor.
"I wanted to be sure I got healthy before I got everyone on board," he said, "but it seemed like a really good idea. I know money’s really tight for everybody right now with gas or grocery prices so high so I'm just looking to make a way for it to be fun."
Zacher, who manages the south Kenny's IGA store in Taft, took 20 years off from racing after graduating from high school before resuming the sport again last January. He whipped himself into shape working almost exclusively on treadmills at Fitness 101 and running routes all around town. Stunning mostly himself, he then won his first race in his first competition in more than two decades — a small 10K in April in McMinnville.
Bolstered by his surprising victory, Zacher began training for a half-marathon, a distance he had never run, and finished 32nd in the Oregon Wine Country Half-Marathon in September in Dayton. Shortly thereafter, he took four minutes off his best time in the Holiday Half-Marathon in Portland and finished 17th in 84 minutes against a field of nearly 2,000 runners.
Pledge sheets for Zacher's run Sunday are available at Depoe Bay Chiropractic, 531 N. Highway 101, Mall 101 Suite J (541-765-3200); Fitness 101, 4744 S.E. Highway 101 (541-996-6101); the Lincoln City Community Center, 2150 N.E. Oar Place (541-994-2131); Beach Dog Cafe, 6042 S.E. Highway 101 (541-996-3647) and KBCH-AM, 800 S.E. Highway 101 (541-994-2181). Zacher can be reached at 541-921-2119 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Race fees through Friday are $55 for the half marathon and $45 for the 10K, which will have an 8 a.m. start. Fees are $60 and $50 on race day.
For more on Angels Anonymous, go to http://angelsanonymous.org.