According to President Claudia Stevens Peterson, Eastwind Running & Endurance Club, or ERE, is a group of people who strive to improve, learn, compete, and grow while enjoying the benefits of camaraderie and friendship. “As a nonprofit organization serving areas east of the Willamette River, we offer events and activities almost every day — group runs, rides, swims, and more. Our club is open to everyone, whether seasoned athletes or new to any of the activities we offer. Whatever their goals may be, we strive to help them reach them together,” states Peterson.
Eastwind has several regular runs and some special events. “We have a group of runners that run Monday – Friday at 4:00 am, and on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5:00 am,” adds Peterson. “We also have a Saturday morning run that we do every week. Special events such as the Tour de Buttes is a 23 mile run with around 2200’ of elevation that includes 5 of Gresham’s buttes. Mike Strobel is the master planner for this route and has done it several times with our group. Mike also organized a walking marathon in 2020 to help some of our walkers who wanted to do a marathon achieve that goal. We do a summer running series on Wednesday evening, usually in June and July, which focuses on inclusion for everyone. We have several families that participate in these fun runs.”
“Our other big event is our annual fundraiser, Resolution Relay, done around the first of the year. It is a super fun run/relay with lots of costumes and teams of 4, 3, 2, or singly as a half marathon. Prizes are given for best team and individual costume. The competition can be fierce for the fastest team and the best costume! Our annual fundraiser provides funding for our club and also supports our high school scholarship program.”
Eastwind isn’t just a running group. “Our members are active in many sports including biking, hiking, swimming, road, and trail running, adds Peterson. “We also have many walkers that are a part of our group. In addition, members can post their own organized runs or rides/swims and ask others to join. The club manages the regularly scheduled runs mentioned above, but members are active and promote many additional activities which others gladly join. We have even been known to have golfing and bowling events!”
Just by looking at the Facebook page, it’s easy to see that Eastwind is a tightly knit group but available for all types of people. “Some of the people who joined Eastwind knew each other before, however, speaking for myself and many others, we did not really know any of the people in the club before we joined,” says Peterson. “Now, we all have many treasured and enduring friendships that have been gained through our club. Eastwind Running and Endurance focus on supporting one another. Whether someone is doing their first 5 K, marathon, or an ultra trail run, everyone cheers them on and shows their support with kudos, showing up to cheer, or training with them to help them reach their goal. Eastwind really is a special group. As mentioned above many of us have gained lasting friendships and you always know there will be someone there to support you in any endeavor you attempt. Allowing members to post their own events helps diversify our offerings and brings people together who may not participate in the regular runs or other standard fares. No one ever needs to worry about not feeling included. Just show up, and we will welcome them.”
Eastwind has many challenges to keep its members motivated. “We offer with a small trinket given when the challenge is completed,” mentions Peterson. “Challenges include running or walking 100, 200, or 300 miles in 30 days. There is also cycling, swimming, and even a plank challenge! Reporting is by the honor system, and many many people have completed one or more of the challenges. It is just something fun to keep people motivated. We also have a 1200 mile club where you have to complete 1200 miles in 12 months and are rewarded with an Eastwind jacket.”