Greasing way for March of Dimes

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter



If you go

• What: Great Bacon Race, 5K, 10K, kids half-mile and Holdyn's Race, a fundraiser for the March of Dimes.

• When: 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

• Where: Pearson Air Museum, 1115 E. Fifth St., Vancouver.

• Web:

Holdyn Hanset has never run a race before. But this weekend, the 3-year-old will cross a finish line for the first time.

When he was born prematurely, doctors gave Holdyn a 4 percent chance of surviving. Since then, he's defied the odds over and over.

He'll defy them once again this weekend when he participates in the Holdyn Race, a 100-foot race specifically for special needs kids like him. Children of all ages and all capabilities are invited to participate for free with their wheelchairs, leg braces, walkers or any other assistance they may need.

"They can be just as involved in sports and other things that other people are, regardless of what they have strapped to their legs," said James Hanset, Holdyn's dad and the event organizer.

The race stemmed from a conversation Hanset had with a friend, Jim Crawford, over a cup of coffee. Hanset wanted to hold a fundraiser for the March of Dimes, the nonprofit organization dedicated to pregnancy and baby health.

Together, the duo came up with the Great Bacon Race.

The event, which takes place in Vancouver this weekend, will pair chip-timed 5K, 10K and kids runs with all-you-can-eat bacon, pulled pork tacos and beer (or chocolate milk for nondrinkers). Participants, including the younger runners in the kids half-mile run and Holdyn's Race, will also get a Bacon Race T-shirt and medal.

The event will also feature plenty of bacon-themed goodies, such as bacon soap and bacon lip balm.

Hanset and Crawford hoped to get 150 people signed up for the inaugural event. As of Wednesday, they had more than 1,000 people registered.

"Bacon, for some reason, a lot of runners dig it," Hanset said.

Due to the unexpected interest, they've decided to cap the event at 1,100 people. But they're encouraging those who can't get in, and anyone else in the community, to come out Saturday morning and support the runners and children born prematurely, like Holdyn.

"It's more than just a race," Hanset said. "It's celebrating crossing the finish line for anybody."