The spirit behind the run - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

The spirit behind the run

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The Montana Women's Run is like no other.

It attracts thousands of girls and women to downtown Billings every May.

This year for the first time in its 36 years, one of the runs biggest cheerleaders won't be at the finish line, at least physically.

Behind the tennis shoes, the sweat and the smiles is a spirit that resonates throughout downtown Billings one day a year and impacts the rest of the community the other 364.

Woven in that excitement was a woman who vowed to never give up on the race, the registrants or this community. 

"Pat was the consummate cheerleader. She was always out there. 'We can do better. We're at 5,000. Now we're at 8,000. We are 10,000. We are going to be 10,000,'" said Renee Coppock.

Pat Jaffray's goal was to register 10,000 women.

"She had a wonderful way to inspire and encourage great people that didn't know that they had it in them," said Debbie Sundberg.

"If you exercise your entire life, you are stronger when you meet those older years. You're healthier. I'm gonna say you have a better mental attitude, and I think that meant a lot to her," said Coppock.

Jaffray, 78, battled cancer and passed away April 6, 2017, just weeks before this year's race.

Up until the end she pushed to raise awareness and support, and over the years she even quietly paid entrance fees for many who couldn't afford it.  

"She would encourage these organizations financially or by volunteering, whatever it took to make Billings a better place," said Coppock.

"I know we'll get there, and I know if Pat was here we get there... to 10,000...15,000 is her next number," said Sundberg.

"I can understand why people come back year after year because it's an amazing feeling, and I think she wanted people to feel that everyday of their lives, have that energy, feel that impact, go out and run, go out and walk, go out and do something nice for someone," said Coppock.

So go ahead and lace up those tennis shoes and sweat a little or a lot.

Most importantly smile, and support the "spirit" behind the run.

"I think we as women, as people, we could take that spirit, that giving heart, that service heart that she had and the passion to help others be able to move forward on whatever dream they had, and to put feet to those," said Sundberg.

In an effort to pass along Pat's passion, we're proud to say every woman at Q2 is signed up for the Montana Women's Run next Saturday on May 13.

We'd like to encourage other local businesses, mom's, daughters, grandmothers and granddaughters to sign up by registering here.

All of the money raised goes back into important services that better our people and our community.

Once you are registered, you can join us here at the Q2 Studios for the free Sole Sisters Breakfast after the race.

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