One more mile. One more mile. Each footstep on the running trail echoed with determination. Focused straight ahead, Jori Perrins saw her goal: to be the best she could be.
But could this Kennewick teen be a top runner? At the start of her sport in late middle school, Jori’s track record hadn’t been that great.
“When I started running in eighth grade, I wasn’t very good,” the petite blonde reflects on her first attempt in 2009. “People would give me the ‘pity clap’ because I was one of the last ones over the finish line.”
Despite being slower than some to the finish line, Jori knew it was a sport she would love if she could only get better. And so she began to run and run ... and run.
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“I first started running around the neighborhood, but that was boring,” the 18-year-old says with a grimace. “I don’t know how anybody can just do that! I like to get out and see different things.”
The same scenery everyday wasn’t much motivation for lacing up her running shoes, so Jori sought another path – and then even more. Surprisingly, it was on her five-year running journey that life offered an additional opportunity – one that could make a difference to other running enthusiasts and walkers.
“A woman from the Hanford Reach center said there was a need for a trail map,” Jori remembers. “That gave me the idea for my senior project because I knew where all these places were.”
Naturally, the enthusiastic teenager was off and running.
Hour after hour – and even with snow on the ground – Jori mapped area running trails with her GPS watch. Then she stepped it up by singly figuring out how to create a runner and walker-friendly website. Blaze the Tri-Cities lists all the paths, their description, level of difficulty, parking and directions on how to find them. She even notes if they’re pet friendly.
“My favorite is Zintel Canyon’s ‘Spirit of America Trail,’” Jori effuses about the 2.5-mile loop. “It’s in the middle of the city, but a wilderness,” noting there are even shaded benches along a creek.
Spirit of America is one of eight trails; some near the rivers while others are on paved paths that border roadways. A nice color brochure that Jori developed on a shoestring sits prominently at Runners Soul in Kennewick.
“It makes me feel good if I can help someone,” college-bound Jori says without hesitation. “To help someone exercise – even those who say they can’t – and to be able to give people a way to get healthy means a lot to me.”
Being the best you can be physically and mentally is something Jori understands. During her Kamiakin High School career, she was one of three senior valedictorians and became one of the top seven runners on the school’s cross-country team, competing in the state meets three of her four high school years.
“It makes me excited to think that God is waiting to help make my dreams come true,” says Jori with her winning smile. “I just have to get on my knees and ask for it and then get on my feet and work for it.”
It seems that when Jori Perrins goes the ‘extra mile’ she always asks God to go with her.
Lucy Note: “Blaze the Tri-Cities” trail maps can be found at www.blazethetricities.blogspot.com
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