Runners cruise through Crush

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Jaime Larsen Pedie and Jan Zaugg, both of Pendleton, warm up in a row of grapes only minutes before competing in the Walla Walla Crush run.

WALLA WALLA — Running through a vineyard proved to be a profitable event for the Children’s Home Society of Washington.

“It’s gotten bigger; it’s huge now,” community fundraising manager Debi Allessio said, adding that more than half the participants in this year’s Walla Walla Crush were from out of the area.

On Saturday, roughly 300 runners, joggers and walkers participated in the 10K, 5K and 1-mile run that is mostly comprised of gravel and dirt roads through several vineyards and a couple of orchards with an occasional strip of road.

“It’s a fun deal. You’ve got to watch out for some of the roots and holes and stuff, but it’s a fun time,” said avid runner Buford Howell of Hayden, Idaho, adding this was his third time to visit Walla Walla just to run in the Crush and, more specifically, in the vineyards.

For the first time, the Children’s Home Society held the event, which was previously sponsored by the Blue Mountain Land Trust.

At $15 per entrant, coordinators said they hoped to make close to $5,000 for the Walla Walla Children’s Home Society.

The Walla Walla Crush took place on the south end of town and included paths through Va Piano Vineyards, Gifford Hirlinger Winery, Northstar Vineyards, Peppers Bridge Winery and Peppers Bridge Farm.

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