Miles For McDougall – Olympia Community Runs Together To Support Coach Todd McDougall

coach todd mcdougall


By Tom Rohrer

Edward Jones Block AdKaren Steen expected around 100 individuals to show up to the Miles for McDougall Poker Run on Sunday, April 13.  The route would take runners and walkers around Capitol Lake and the Capitol Campus.

Around 60 people had signed up, in advance, for the poker run.  All proceeds are headed to Coach Todd McDougall’s family to offset the medical costs associated with the longtime Olympia High School baseball coach’s fight against brain cancer.

“Hopefully the word gets out and more people show up,” Steen said in an interview with the week prior to the event. “And hopefully the weather stays clear enough.”

coach todd mcdougallThe unpredictable Olympia spring weather did not hinder the event’s turnout, as hundreds, if not a thousand people, showed up to Marathon Park on Capitol Lake on Sunday.

“I didn’t think today that we would be running out of (race) numbers to give to people,” Steen said after the poker run began.  “This is absolutely amazing.”

Officially starting at 1:11 p.m., to symbolize McDougall’s OHS room number 111, the event was the perfect symbol of how the community has rallied around the McDougall family and the Olympia High School community.

Members of the Olympia High School baseball team, clad in their white home uniforms, stood near the front of the vast starting group and right next to their coach, who was in a wheelchair surrounded by his family and close friends.

Also on hand was interim OHS baseball coach, and McDougall’s longtime assistant Greg Creighton, the Bears head football coach Bill Beattie, and Capital High School principal Chris Woods, a close friend of the McDougall family.

coach todd mcdougallSteen, with the help of a necessary microphone, organized all the run participants at the starting point and thanked them all for their support and participation.  Woods then took the microphone and led the entire group in an emotional prayer, similarly thanking those in attendance, and the spirit of the McDougall family.

Emotions certainly helped carry the participants around the five mile course.  Runners received an individual playing card at each mile check point.  At the end of the run, those with the best five card hand would have an opportunity to win one of the various donated prizes.

The idea to hold such an event came to co-event organizers Tessa Effland and Steen from writer Anne Larsen, who held a local poker run about three years ago.

“The McDougall’s aren’t really runners, so we didn’t want running to be the focal point,” Steen said. “This way, people could run, leisurely walk, and have a fun time.”

coach todd mcdougallWith the help of around 75 volunteers, many of which were Olympia High School students, Steen and Effland were able to organize the necessary facilities, running route, and donated prizes.

McDougall has been the baseball coach to Steen’s son, a teacher to her daughter, and a coworker to her husband. Helping out the McDougall family hit even closer to home for Steen, who lost her sister to cancer six years ago.  It’s been a cause she’s been happy to help.

“I lost my sister to cancer six years ago and I just wanted to be able to give back to another family going through a hard time,” Steen said. “If we can take the smallest financial burden away from the McDougall’s, the event will be a success.”

While such an event may not be under the best of circumstances, Steen was happy to see the community come together to help one of its own.

coach todd mcdougall“I really want to thank all the volunteers, those who supported financially and those who came out to participate,” Steen said. “It’s a silver lining for this situation, but how the community has come together for a great cause has been amazing.”

For more information on how to help the McDougall family, click here.




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