Ten years ago, Jim Klaasmeyer was looking for a way to carve more time out of his busy schedule to spend time with his teenage daughter. She had taken up track, so if Jim wanted her time, he was going to have to run for it.
“She’s very fast, I was never going to be that fast, but she humored me. We ran together through her high school years, even as she got faster.”
Five years ago, Jim signed the family up for their first Market to Market.
“Everyone is busy with their own lives, but getting the nieces and nephews, my sister, my daughters together for this one day is just a fun thing to look forward to. Just a healthy, silly way to stay connected.”
Jim’s sister Jane designs a unique costume for the team each year, and Jim calls her attention to detail just standard Jane.
“She has always been really creative and artistic, and patient! She’s a school teacher and she just brings so much fun and energy to everything she does. It just still blows me away how she can look at random, everyday items and see a costume in them. And she doesn’t just make them look great, she makes sure that you can either run in them, or easily remove them for your leg. She’s just a really smart, thoughtful person.”
The team’s costumes have run the gamut, sometimes literally.
“We did a take on Game of Thrones one year. One of our runners is 6’8, so he went as The Mountain. Full armor, helmet. It looked great! Another year we did ‘Top Run’ and we all wore flight suits. We did a toga theme for the year we went as ‘The Achilles Heels’.”
In their five years running, they have never gone unnoticed. Other teams have posted shout outs to the family, not only for their clever getups, but for their team spirit.
Their hard work and ingenuity paid off last year when their costume theme “The Oregon Trailers” won for best costume.
Even sweeter? The team won again this year for their Candy-Ran costumes.
After 50 years in Nebraska, Jim and his wife bid their family goodbye when a work opportunity moved them to Oregon two years ago.
“Moving made it even more important to make it back for M2M. I did Hood to Coast out here, flew out family and friends to take part. It’s a 12-person, 195-mile relay. It was great, really… but when you do something like that, it really underscores the difference between M2M and other events. I don’t know what it is that Pink Gorilla does that’s different, but it’s different. The energy in the runners, the volunteers, the crowd… it’s just different. Everyone feels it, but I don’t know if anyone can name it.”
Pink Gorilla loves what we do, and we love the people who are drawn to what we do. The energy comes from runners like Jim, his crazy and creative family, and the love they have for Nebraska. It makes us try harder every event to make it worth the miles!
“After the run, the whole family gets together and my mom takes us to supper. It’s always just a great way to punctuate this excellent week before heading back to Oregon. It’s just twenty sweaty, kind of tired people happy to be chatting over good food. It’s nice to have family you enjoy just sitting and talking with.”
We understand why Jim’s family like one another so well, and we like them, too! We’re looking forward to seeing what crazy costume this warm, friendly family comes up with next year! We’ll see you in Lincoln!