Nearby Edmonds is again the starting line for this year’s Dick’s Walkathon, the annual event that raises funds to support homeless services in the Seattle area. The 22-mile walk leaves at 10:30 a.m. this Sunday, Oct. 9, from the Edmonds Dick’s Drive-in at 220th Street Southwest and Highway 99 and ends at the Queen Anne location, stopping at every Dick’s along the way.
“I am amazed at how this event has grown over the years,” said organizer Lars Phillips. “Each year we’ve about doubled the number of participants. Last year we had 33 walkers, so this year we hope for three score at least!”
The Dick’s Walkathon is rooted in the friendship of Phillips and Ballard High School classmate JP Osseward. “Both of us like being outdoors and active, and we’d frequently get together and trek for miles through Seattle neighborhoods. We learned early on that these urban treks can sure build up an appetite and we’d frequently stop at Dick’s for a bite. The food was always good, and it wasn’t long before our routes began to be built around Dick’s locations.”
In 2011 they decided to make it formal event, and held the first Dick’s Walkathon with only the two of them participating. That first walk was just a Seattle event, but with the opening of Dick’s Edmonds location in October of that year, the two friends immediately began planning for a new starting location and a longer walk. And in September 2012, now joined by fellow Ballardite Zack Gussin, the intrepid trio assembled at Dick’s Edmonds for the 22-mile trek to all Dick’s locations. MLTnews’s sister website My Edmonds News was there to cover the event.
“We’ve traditionally raised money by encouraging Dick’s customers to put their change in a special “Change for Charity” jar at the cash register,” Phillips said, “and for the last few years we’ve sold T-shirts too. This year we’ll also be asking Dick’s customers to ‘RoundUP’ their tab.”
The 2015 Walkathon raised more than $2,500 to support local organizations that help Seattle-area homeless. But this year’s fundraising has really kicked into high gear, with two corporate sponsors stepping up to offer matching donations.
“We are so incredibly pleased that both Dick’s Drive-Ins and Gravity Payments, who processes Dick’s credit card transactions, have each agreed to match up to $5,000 in donations,” said Phillips. “We’re totally stoked about this double match, and it’s allowed us to push this year’s fundraising goal to $15,000.”
(Note: In 2015 Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price put his organization in the forefront of the income equality movement when, with a stroke of his pen, he set the minimum salary for all employees of his credit card processing company to $70,000, and at the same time slashed his own $1 million salary to $70,000.)
The Walkathon will also get some celebrity support this year, as Seahawks third-round pick C.J. Prosise joins the group for the final leg of the walk from the Broadway to the Queen Anne location.
“Over the years most of our walkers have been Seattle folks,” said Phillips, “but we’d sure love to have a healthy contingent from Snohomish County! So c’mon Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace! Join us at the Edmonds Dick’s at 10:15 this Sunday, Oct. 9 for a fun day supporting a great cause. The weather forecast looks great, and the Seahawks are taking the weekend off, so what’s your excuse?”
Visit MLTnews’ coverage of last year’s Dick’s Walkathon by clicking here.
Learn more on the Dick’s Walkathon Facebook page here.
— Story by Larry Vogel