Runners in Chico have particular reason to be grateful to John and Annie Bidwell.
Without their farsighted generosity, there would be no Bidwell Park.
Just imagine that. The beautiful park we call our running home would not exist, but rather there would be houses and businesses built right up to either side of Big Chico Creek.
Many of us would never have even come to live in Chico without this lovely all-seasons park.
The park itself is not in danger, but Bidwell Mansion is. If enough money is not raised by the end of March 2012, the Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park will close.
Runners and walkers owe John and Annie Bidwell a debt of gratitude, and what better way to show it than to help raise money to keep the park’s founders’ home well-preserved and open to the public.
Here’s what I’m going to do, and I encourage every one of my fellow runners to do the same.
I’m keeping a log of the miles I run or walk in Bidwell Park from the beginning of January until March 28th. At the end of that period I’m going to write a check equal to the mileage I’ve run multiplied by 50 cents to the Save Bidwell Mansion effort. (Follow the link to find out how to make a contribution.)
Pick an amount of money per mile that you are comfortable pledging, and then run or walk as much as you can.
Tell your other running friends, especially if you’re in a training group. See who can run the most miles. If you have kids, enroll them to help with a penny or nickel per mile. And if your company matches charitable donations, see if they’ll match yours. (This is tax-deductible.)
Heck, I’ll even give you 15 minutes of fame by putting your name in a blog post in March if you tell me how many miles and dollars you raised!
Finally, I have a suggestion for the organizers of the many races that take place in Bidwell Park. Add $1 or $2 to the price of all entry fees, and pass it on directly to the support of Bidwelll Mansion.
Thousands of runners take part in events in Bidwell Park annually,. One or two dollars added to an entry fee that costs anywhere from $25 to $60 is not going to deter runners from registering for a race, and it provides an effortless way for them to be a part of the effort to keep the mansion open. It’s too late for the current fundraising effort to implement this in races coming up in the next few months, but if state funding for Bidwell Mansion continues to be withheld, then this can be a feature of future races.
Runners, please open your wallets to honor John and Annie Bidwell.