It was a fitting tribute when, in February 2016, the Siuslaw Watershed Council (SWC) named Shiloh Sundstrom as its “Spirit of the Siuslaw” award recipient posthumously.
Sundstrom, a Deadwood resident and Mapleton High School graduate who earned a masters degree in forest resources from Oregon State University in 2009, dedicated much of his time to the watershed over the years before a tragic hit-and-run accident took his life at age 34 two years ago.
As an intern with the SWC in 2006, Sundstrom began the Salmon Run 5K as a fundraiser for its watershed programs, particularly its summer camps for kids — hands-on experiences that introduces them to the area’s ecosystem, wildlife and the importance of conservation.
The run lasted three years before trickling off after Sundstrom went to college.
A little over a year ago, while accepting the “Spirit” award on behalf of his son, Johnny Sundstrom challenged the board to start the run again.
“The board thought it was a great idea to get that tradition going again,” said Tom Burke of the SWC.
Before long, Burke and a handful of volunteers began digging into old permits issued a decade earlier in an effort to retrace the route Sundstrom established and keep it as close to the original as they could.
Unfortunately, they discovered that road closures and restrictions wouldn’t allow for the same route, but the council kept it as close as possible.
Though there have been some changes to the original route, it starts in the same place as it did — at the Mapleton High School track, where Shiloh spent a lot of time as both a high school athlete for the Sailors as well as an assistant track coach for his father, Johnny.
Just as when the run was first established 11 years ago, all money raised goes to support SWC programs and the watershed that meant so much to Sundstrom.
In addition to the 5K run, there is also a 3K fun run/walk.
Last year’s revival of the race drew 74 participants, with those finishing in first place in each division receiving a handmade commemorative wooden medal.
This year, organizers of the Salmon Run hope to increase that number to 100 or more when it takes place on Saturday, Aug. 26.
Cost is $20 for the 3K or $25 for the 5K event for those who pre-register anytime before tomorrow, Aug. 3. Cost includes a commemorative T-shirt.
Registration fees will increase by $5 for both races starting Friday, Aug. 4.
Check-in is 8:30 a.m., with both races beginning at 9 a.m.
To pre-register, visit www.eclecticedgeracing.com and click on the “Salmon Run 5K” link.
“It means a lot to see so many people turn out for this event,” Johnny Sundstrom said at the start of last year’s run. “Shiloh believed in giving back, and having this race up and running again in his memory and raising money for conservation education and projects is a wonderful way of continuing his legacy.”