In the spring of 2020, the Samaritan employees who were avid runners realized the summer race season would look dramatically different that year. Because of the safety measures in place for COVID‑19, they would not be racing through large crowds or crossing finish lines at festival‑like events around the state. Instead, they would be training with close friends and family, and participating in virtual races.
Inspired by these committed runners, Samaritan Foundations created the inaugural Walk Run Roll, a virtual community race. In this new format, participants from around the three‑county region (and beyond!) would be able to join the fun at their convenience.
The event featured a virtual 5K, 10K and half marathon to raise funds for the Samaritan Foundations Patient Support Program. The race attracted 328 participants who raised nearly $30,000. The Patient Support Program serves residents of Benton, Lincoln and Linn counties who have demonstrated a financial need for equal access to care. In 2019, the program distributed more than $45,000 in assistance to 486 community members for help with expenses such as medical bills, transportation, prescriptions, nutritional supplements and groceries. Racers enjoyed the event so much, the 2021 virtual event is already scheduled; mark your calendar for the 2nd annual Samaritan Walk Run Roll virtual race on Sept. 10 to 20. It’s never too early to start planning your route.