Hurricane runner set to run every street in the city

Jennifer Hatcher runs in Hurricane, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Jennifer Hatcher, St. George News

HURRICANE — What do you do if you are relatively new in town and you want to get to know your surroundings better? Some people might ask for restaurant recommendations or look for new shopping options. Others might find a new favorite park or trail. But for Jennifer Hatcher those options simply weren’t enough.

A map of Jennifer Hatcher’s runs on streets in Hurricane, Utah, Jan. 30, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Jennifer Hatcher, St. George News

Instead, Hatcher, an ultrarunner who moved to Hurricane from Ohio less than two years ago has set the ambitious goal of running every city street in Hurricane. Her efforts have a twofold goal: one, get to know her new town in a very pedestrian way; and two, raise awareness for two organizations that benefit girls and women.

Hurricane is approximately 31.5 square miles, of which 31.1 square miles is land. A rough guess of the street mileage, Hatcher said, is about 300 miles, going one direction. On streets that have no outlet, Hatcher said she will run up and down that street, adding to the mileage. Hatcher estimates that she will run about 500 miles, possibly more, before she reaches her goal.

In 2003 Hatcher weighed 240 pounds, wore size 24 clothes and smoked three packs of cigarettes a day, she said.

“I couldn’t breathe anymore,” Hatcher said.

Hatcher began her exercise journey doing short distance triathlons and by 2007 she had completed a full ironman distance triathlon – 2.4-mile swin, 112-mile bike ride, 26.2-mile run.

Later, Hatcher found a passion for marathons and ultrarunning, which is loosely defined as anything longer than a marathon.

Between 2012 and 2014, Hatcher ran a marathon or ultramarathon in all 50 states. It was while running the Zion 100 outside Zion National Park in 2013 that Hatcher fell in love with Hurricane and dreamed of one day living there.

Though running keeps her healthy, Hatcher likes to use her runs to raise awareness and funds for organizations that she believes in.

“To me it’s all about promoting the organizations,” Hatcher said.

As she runs each street in Hurricane, Hatcher is hoping to raise awareness for Girls on the Run Southern Utah and the Dove Center. Both organizations help girls and women in different life situations.

Girls on the Run is a physical activity-based, positive youth-development program that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident. The 10-week program teaches critical life skills, encourages personal development and fosters team building and community service.

The Dove Center is a safe-shelter, crisis intervention and prevention center for people who have experienced domestic violence, rape and sexual assault.

Hatcher said the two organizations tie into each other and hopes that as the Girls on the Run program instills confidence and strength in young girls they are less likely to stay in abusive situations.

“If you teach these girls at a young age that they are worthy, hopefully that will reduce any kind of abuse they could face in the future,” Hatcher said. “They go hand-in-hand together and they are great organizations.”

It is Hatcher’s hope that people who see her out in Hurricane running will recognize her as the woman trying to raise awareness for those organizations and want to learn more about them and maybe even donate some money to them, she said.

Though she has already started mapping her runs, Hatcher hopes to host an official kickoff event to introduce her goal and the organizations she is running for.

A Facebook page titled Jenn Runs and a web blog will include all of Hatcher’s updates on her runs. She will post maps and completed mileage as well as other thoughts and experiences as she works toward her goal of running Hurricane.

Hatcher hasn’t set a date for completing all the streets but is trying to stay ahead of booming construction, which could add new streets before she finishes.

Anyone interested in joining Hatcher on a run or becoming involved in her efforts to raise awareness for Girls on the Run Southern Utah and the Dove Center can email her at jhatcherruns@gmail.com.

Resources

Email: hreina@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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