Everyone likes a good inspirational story, and the namesake of the Norm Bright Fun Run provides just such a tale. Norm Bright was a student at Western in the 1920’s. He was a record breaking runner who held the American record for the two-mile run, placed eleventh in the 1944 Boston Marathon, broke 60 age records in masters competitions, and continued to run even after an auto accident left him blind. No question about it, this man loved to run.

How about you? Do you feel like breaking out the old Reebok sneaks and treating the legs to some serious left, right, left? “The Norm Bright Fun Run is a 5k, or 3.1 mile, fun run or walk on campus to get alumni, students and members of the community on campus, and to have fun on a run,” said Donna LeBlonde, Director of Constituent Records for the Alumni Association. “It goes by most of the sculptures on campus, so it’s a really nice way to see campus, and get involved in a healthy way.”
The annual run raises money for the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, and provides an opportunity for students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members to come to campus, enjoy the ambience of a nice loop through many or Western’s outdoor sculptures, and honor the legacy of the late Norm Bright. “It is a nice, healthy way to spend an hour on Saturday morning,” said LeBlonde. “It’s a good way to see campus, and a fun way to be with your family on family weekend. It is non-competitive, and we want runners and walkers of all abilities to participate.”

LeBlonde said that the run usually draws about 200 people. She said that before Bright passed away, he would come and run the course. “He came to campus for the run in the 80’s. Even after he became blind, he would run with someone who led him on the course. He is the most decorated runner Western has ever had.”

Though part of the fun in this run comes from its non-competitive underpinnings, there are prizes given out too, and those are especially fun. Ribbons will be awarded for the first three places in ten year age divisions, and random prizes from businesses around town, like gift certificates, bags, and T-shirts, will be given to other participants. LeBlonde said that this year there will also be a special award given to the oldest Western alum to finish the course.

Fret not, dear running friends. If your running shoes are looking a little dusty, covered in a pile of clothes at the back of your closet, and you are worried about the difficulty of the course, LeBlonde said you have nothing to worry about. “The course starts and finishes at the Rec center, and winds its way around campus, through Red Square.”

“It twists and turns because we keep it on campus, but it’s not hard.”

So how do you get to participate in this fun, fun run? You can register by contacting the Alumni Office at (360) 650-3353 or going to their website at www.wwualumni.com/normbright2006.
Pre-registration, which is cheaper and qualifies you to receive fun prizes, must be completed by Tuesday, May 16. However, if you miss that deadline, you can still register the day of the race, beginning at 8 a.m. on the track in front of the Rec Center. The cost of participation is $10 for students and alumni, and $15 dollars for everyone else. That cost includes a tee-shirt. Students who pre-register can opt out of the tee-shirt and run for only $5.

The run starts at 9am on Saturday, May 20, by the Rec Center. Be running, be healthy, be outside, and have fun!