The See Spot Run
9 a.m. Saturday
There was a route through downtown Guthrie that Chris Cowden took every day. He was an avid runner and enjoyed being outdoors. During his daily trek, he often encountered friends along the way, many of them four-legged.
Two years ago, on May 17, 2008, Cowden's life came to a tragic end.
"One day, he went out for a ride on his motorcycle, and he didn't come back," said Sara Cowden, Chris' widow. "He was the love of my life. We were married 14 years, and those were some of the happiest days I have ever known."
By all accounts, Cowden loved everyone, and everyone loved him. He was especially fond of animals.
"I can't tell you how many times he came home with a dog or cat he found along his route," Sara said. "He would say, 'I found this great Jack Russell terrier; let's try to find him a home."
Cowden grew up loving animals, according to his brother, Matt.
"Chris was always bringing home a stray dog or cat," Matt said. "He loved hunting, loved wildlife. But as he grew older, he more or less gave up hunting and thought more about animals and animal rights. That's why when he passed, we decided to turn our grief into something positive."
On the one-year anniversary of Chris' death, the Cowden family began The See Spot Run, a 5K and 10K run and walk. The run benefits Free to Live, an Edmond-based nonprofit for abandoned, stray and mistreated animals.
"Chris loved to run, and he also loved animals. So we decided this would be a great legacy," Matt said.
"We contacted the folks at Free to Live and told them our idea," Sara said. "They do such wonderful work and are struggling, and we knew Chris would totally approve."
The run takes place in 9 a.m. Saturday in downtown Guthrie.
"We chose this particular route because it's the same one Chris used to run," Matt said.
In its first year, the run exceeded all expectations.
"We thought we would be lucky to raise a few hundred dollars for Free to Live," Sara said. "Instead, we raised $8,000."
Free to Live relies on the generosity of others to keep the sanctuary running.
"We are always at capacity," said Annette Becker, director of development. "We have a no-kill policy, so if a dog or cat is not adopted, it will live out its life with us. Right now, we have 200 dogs looking for a home and 180 cats. We rely on donations and fundraisers like The See Spot Run to help us pay for food, medicine and veterinarian costs. These animals cannot help themselves, so we must do what we can to help them."
For more information, visit www.theseespotrun.com. "Mark Beutler