Eastwind Running & Endurance is a nonprofit organization that schedules workouts, organizes races, and awards local scholarships. Perhaps more importantly, the group is a thriving community for runners, cyclists, swimmers, and walkers of all ages and skill levels.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu
It all started with a local triathlete.
Ken McLarty — one of the first triathlete coaches to be certified at the local level — founded the club in 2011 after noticing the lack of triathlon coaching in east Multnomah County. Originally called the Eastwind Endurance Club, McLarty’s triathlon-focussed group had approximately 20 members. Everyone was invited to serve on the club’s board which met on a monthly basis.
By 2013, Eastwind was ready to grow. Recognizing that people are more likely to be runners than triathletes — and also noticing the rising popularity of social races and fun runs — the club shifted its focus toward the individual disciplines of running, biking, and swimming. Eastwind also began its transition toward becoming a community-oriented organization. In 2014, new board president Nicole Richards helped implement long-term goals in areas such as recruiting, fundraising, supporting youth, and community involvement.
Years of persistence paid off in 2016, when Eastwind held its first Summer Running Series. Membership tripled from the 30s to the 90s by the time the series was over. In 2017, Eastwind’s membership reached 160 members during the second Summer Running Series — and that’s not counting the hundreds more who follow Eastwind’s Facebook page.
Eastwind’s biggest transformation happened in the spring of 2017, when the club became an official 501(c)(3). Also that year, Eastwind awarded its first college scholarship to an area high school student.
Today, Eastwind continues to grow its membership while seeking new ways to support the community. It is a journey we have enjoyed every step of the way.
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