College track star hosting socially distant distance race

MCMINNVILLE, OR (KPTV) — It has been nearly three weeks since college sports were benched due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, with a little time to process, a track star from Gonzaga in Washington state is back home in Oregon ready to hit the ground running. Literally.

Ally Legard, of McMinnville, is a junior this year at Gonzaga University. She says she is trying to stay upbeat after losing her track season at Gonzaga to the COVID-19 shutdown.

“It’s definitely been a big, bummer but we have just been trying to stay positive,” Legard said.

Now, the McMinnville Grizzlies alumna is back home in Yamhill County and hopes to brighten a few days with a socially distant distance race.

“I just think it’s important we all get outside and have something to look forward to,” Legard said. “It’s an all-day event that you just complete on your own.”

Her event, called the Go the Social Distance 5K or Mile, involves running, walking, or jogging the race, and then posting a selfie on Legard’s Go the Social Distance Facebook event page.

She hopes the event can help build community.

“You don’t have to post your time or what you ran but just to kind of create community,” Legard said. “I just looked, I have like 150 people that are going or interested so I am really excited!”

Legard said she was bummed for awhile about the season ending, but then got an idea after emailing with some of the coaches in the West Coast Conference.

“I emailed some of the coaches in the WCC, the West Coast Conference, which is what Gonzaga is in, and the LMU coach was really excited about it,” Legard said. “He bought a shirt and he told me that his team was all going to race that day, you can’t make anything mandatory right now, so he was encouraging them, which I thought was really exciting because that just motivates my teammates to want to do well and to know that people we race against our out there competing just like we are.”

The Go the Social Distance 5K or Mile is set for Saturday.