By Karen Lozano
Taking over as head of the Escalon Park Fete Run three years ago was one tall order for Kelly Short. But the ShadowChase Running Club super volunteer put on her conductor hat and went to work full steam ahead, organizing everything from the 10K and two mile courses, to volunteers, and even picking organizations to benefit from all of her hard work.
“I became race director of the Escalon Park Fete Race as a fluke,” she said. “I sort of thought I was only going to do it one year. I’ve kind of gotten into it and really want to grow it. I’m pretty proud of what it’s become. My goal is to continue to raise money for various local Escalon projects, mostly to do with schools. Last year we raised money for the Escalon High cheerleaders. This year we raised money for the El Portal middle school track team and we will also give money to the cheerleaders.
“I really thought they would have fired me by now!,” she joked about the annual July event, adding, “every year is a new and exciting experience, planning and executing a race.”
As for the race’s train theme, it has always been part of the race, she explained, “due to the fact there’s a caboose right in the middle of town! In keeping with the train theme, I bought a conductor hat my first year as race director, and it kind of stuck.”
Short said her husband of 26 years, Daren, is a great help at race time. “He does all kinds of gopher work and keeps things running at home when I go to ‘Raceland’ as I put it, which means I can’t talk now!!”
Short considers herself lucky, despite all the work. “I have been very fortunate and like to give back to the community that I’ve been a part of for 30 years,” she said.
The Shorts have been ShadowChase members for approximately 5 years.
“I joined to be a part of the Modesto Marathon,” she explained.
“Volunteering at the Modesto Marathon has usually meant I do whatever is needed, whenever it’s needed. I’ve helped (volunteer coordinator) Gabriela Guerrini with many of her duties organizing volunteers for the marathon.
“We have been friends for a very long time, and I became her ‘assistant to the assistant,’ ” she laughed.
Both Shorts are longtime runners, starting in 1992 with the Bridge to Bridge race. She recalls one adventurous 10-miler in 1993 where they both needed to make bathroom pit stops and almost came in last.
“We took a break from running during our 30s because I was going to school” for her current profession as a dental hygienist. “After I graduated we started running again with the Lake Tahoe Marathon. I thought it was going to be all downhill,” she laughed.
“I love to run, but as I age, I have to do a lot of work in the gym. I battle injuries if I just run without strength training. I try to do a half marathon at least once a year now just to get out there and be a part of the whole race experience. I have a passion for being physically fit and helping others to achieve their goals to be more physically fit.
“I’ve been a dental hygienist for 13 years,” she said, “and it’s something I really love! But after sitting all day, a run feels great.”