I’m a life-long resident of the Foothills, a rural community that appears on old USGS maps but not on modern maps of Spokane County. Over the years my neighborhood has been alternately known for truck farms, then apple orchards and cabbage farms, and now wheat fields. When the local farmers rotate crops and plant rapeseed (canola), the yellow fields are visible from Mount Spokane and local photographers come to capture their golden glow with a sunrise or sunset backdrop.

The Foothills Rural Association is at the core of the local community, hosting a variety of events throughout the year. Some of these events are free for Foothills residents, and others serve as fundraisers to help support the work of the association as well as the annual scholarship fund. One of these fundraiser events is the annual Foothills Scenic Five fun run and pancake breakfast. The run/walk includes three-mile and five-mile route options on an open course featuring a mix of pavement and dirt roads.

Since the association didn’t keep close records in the early years, our best guess is that the fun run has been held annually for more than 25 years. I first ran the race when I was still in elementary school, I won it a handful of times when I was in college, and I eventually took over as race director. Even though the run is a fundraiser, we try to keep it small enough to maintain its community-centered character. The run loops through those beautiful wheat and/or rapeseed fields, and the breakfast is served in our 1905 schoolhouse-turned-Community Center. I hand-pick the huckleberries that go into the pancakes, and a local artist hand-paints the award plaques that go to the top finishers in the race. We use recycled pieces of the wainscoting from the old school house for the plaques. We never use chip timing, but if I’m slow to compile the race results, most people don’t mind since the breakfast is all-you-can-eat and the conversation is lively. Please join us this year on June 10. //