Dillon's Run carries on where Silverton youth left off.
By Mark Esper
It was nearly a year ago when Silverton teenager Dillon Paxton died in a pickup truck crash just outside of town, stunning the community.
On Saturday, Aug. 31, the first anniversary of that tragic event, a 6-mile run will be held at Kendall Mountain Recreation Area in his honor.
While it’s officially the first-ever Dillon’s Run, in a way the event actually happened once already, last year— albeit spontaneously.
Dillon, 16, was an avid runner, and had signed up for the Silverton 1000 24-hour event scheduled for Sept. 1, 2012. His personal goal was to run 60 miles in 24 hours (60 was his running number, now retired).
The tragic crash the night before that run thwarted those plans, but family members and friends came together that day and ran for Dillon (and, some say, with him), completing a total of 217 miles combined.
“Last year there were kids out there doing laps that I had never seen run before,” said Keri Metzler, Dillon’s mother.
Metzler noted how much Dillon meant to other students in Silverton. Dillon interned at A Theatre Group’s summer youth camp and was active with the Silverton Youth Center.
“The younger kids loved him,” Metzler said.
So the idea behind Dillon’s Run, which is now a 501(c)3 charity, is to help students both academically and with athletics.
“We’ll be assisting kids to buy sports equipment if they need it,” Metzler said.
“When Dillon was a freshman I helped pay for his trip to Washington, D.C.,” Metzler said, adding that she knows what a burden that can be for some parents.
So the Dillon’s Run charity will also provide financial aid for those who need help with sending students on field trips.
“It’s just a way to carry on his legacy,” Metzler said. “He was very athletic and into learning.”
And Metzler said those taking part in the run of course do not have to do the full six miles.
The run will be on the one-mile Silverton 1000 loop developed by Rodger Wrublik at Kendall Mountain in 2009.
“He loved that loop out there,” Metzler said.
Metzler said she hopes Dillon’s run will be a lasting reminder to the community about how her son tried to make a difference with his life by helping others.
“We’re just carrying on his name,” Metzler said. “He was a good kid.”
The run Saturday, Aug. 31, will begin with open registration beginning at 7:30 a.m., and the run will start at 9:30 a.m.
The one-mile loop consists of a trail and dirt roads with a 250-foot climb and descent within the course.
Entry fee will be $35. Onsite registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. Students can register for $25 onsite.