The pandemic has impacted local sports as well as the ability to gather, but cross country coach and teacher Josh Nordell came up with a simple way to do some real good during the holiday season through a running challenge designed to put a little money into some local charities.

Nordell contacted Peterson Ridge Rumble Race Director Sean Meissner and asked if he would be willing to put up some funds from the race to help make the idea work.

The two settled on a plan in which anyone could be involved. For every mile covered by biking, walking, running, rowing, skiing or whatever, the Rumble would donate 10 cents. Nordell shared the “Outlaw 1000 Mile Challenge” with high school runners and other contacts with the notion that being active during the mid-winter is especially important during COVID and being connected through a project of giving is a concrete way to practice community.

The Challenge lasted from December 19-January 3.

By the third day of the challenge, a few dozen people had jumped onboard, recording their activity on a shared Google Docs file. The 1,000 mile mark fell by the wayside sooner than expected, so Nordell opened it up toward 2,000. The final tally ended up to be over 1,773 miles.

Members of the high school cross country team will soon decide which charity the $170 (or more) donation will be delivered to.

Meissner said, “Josh just sprung this idea on me sort of out of the blue, like friends do sometimes, and I loved the idea, both to get the Outlaw Community moving throughout the Christmas break and also to make the challenge a benefit for a local nonprofit.”

Meissner, who now resides in Colorado, lived in Sisters for many years, and has developed the Peterson Ridge Rumble trail run into one of the most popular ultra-running events in Oregon. He has been very generous with the funds raised by the race over the years.

“It was super-inspiring to see so many different people take part in it,” he said. “Kudos to Josh for the idea and to everyone who did all their miles to help contribute.”

In Nordell’s mind it was a win-win-win situation.

“Everyone involved benefitted with the Challenge,” he said. “It turned out better than I imagined and I think it may very well become a tradition for the community.”