- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 9, 2005

Runners can be some of the most charitable people on Earth.

Well before I began road racing in the mid-‘70s, race organizers nearly always had a charity beneficiary for their race. Which is a major reason why many of the major charitable organizations in America have latched onto the running boom to further their causes.

So it should come as no surprise that a runner among us was moved to action by the deadly Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami Dec.26. As a result, the Tsunami Survivors Run takes place at 9:30 this morning at the Canton Waterfront Park by the Korean War Memorial in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

The person behind the run is Fiona Scott, who was sitting at home just like many of us watching the coverage of the devastation when the inspiration hit her like the wall in a marathon.

“It was an idea that just came to my head,” said Scott, an occupational therapist for schoolchildren who turned to running and eventually marathons four years ago to lose weight, “but it’s been extraordinary how this thing has grown. I was thinking there would be about 50 [runners] or so, but it’s taken off. We’re looking at over 300.”

Scott, a member of the Fells Point Runners, joined with Deneen Habarta, owner of the 5K Specialty Running Store, to approach the Red Cross because it is one of the biggest relief organizations and already had been leading the rescue effort.

That organization, according to Scott, was eager to participate in the fun run. Before long, the Central Maryland Chapter of the Red Cross had a prominent listing of the run on its Web site, much to the delight of Scott and her organizing group.

While Scott, a native of Melbourne, Australia, now living in Baltimore, was reluctant to estimate the amount of funds her event will raise, she did say she had a $2,500 “initial benchmark” that already had been met by Friday — two days before the race.

Her ties to the cause of helping tsunami survivors runs deep because “it’s an area north of Australia, and I know what it’s like.”

The run itself was created to be flexible. Participants can go between four and 10 miles on an out-and-back course, deciding on the spot how far they will travel. There is no entry fee, but entrants were encouraged to get sponsors.

“The great thing is that the checks are written to the Red Cross so they get every penny of it,” Scott said, noting all organizing expenses have been covered by sponsors.

Donations also are possible online at redcross-cmd.org.

The run is Scott’s first foray into event management, and she concedes, “I’ve had a high learning curve. It’s not anything I’ve had a background in.” But she also credits many Baltimore/Washington running clubs with assistance.

Adidas joins effort — Adidas announced that in addition to its corporate donation and employee matching program, the company’s online store, thestore.adidas.com, will donate 20 percent of its sales revenue today and tomorrow to Mercy Corps, an international charitable organization dedicated to providing emergency assistance and building sustainable communities.

Running celeb — Elite American marathoner Josh Cox will be competing on TV this week against 24 other men — not for money but for love. He will be trying to earn Jen Schefft’s hand in the upcoming series of “The Bachelorette.”

The eight-episode ABC series, which was taped in October and November in New York, will premiere tomorrow evening. Cox, 29, obviously could not say whether he made it to the finish or was dropped somewhere along the course.

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