CAMANCHE — Every once in a while, good things come from chaos. A prime example would be the Camanche Classic, a 5K run/walk that happens every August, ready or not.

Attending a planning meeting for the Classic, six of the eight committee members gather around a table on the porch of the Lighthouse on Washington Boulevard in Camanche.

Nobody seems to be in charge and no one knows what’s on the agenda, but one thing’s for sure — they are having a good time.

The event has been in existence for 30 years. According to committee member Jim Thyne, the current committee took it over from Jean Roeder.

“She decided not to do it and we decided to pick it up and keep it going,” Thyne explained. “We thought it was going to be a couple of years thing.”

That was 16 years ago.

Committee members include Dave Mink, Larry Cramer, Bob Duncan, Tom Junginger, Jackie Sachsenmaier and Tom Coffey from Camanche and Paul Wiederholt and Thyne from Clinton.

They say they have nothing in common — they are just a bunch of self-labeled misfits — but somehow the group in the past 16 years has raised more than $20,000 to be returned to the Camanche community.

Camanche High School has been a big benefactor as well as the fire department, post office, senior citizens and Camanche Days, a community festival.

The Camanche Classic is run in conjunction with Camanche Days but not a part of it.

“We are incorporated,” Mink said. “We are our own little race.”

Twenty minutes into the meeting two or three of the members decide it’s time to discuss the business at hand, which was recruiting new members to run the event. Sixteen years is a long time.

“We would like to enjoy the race instead of doing all the work for it every year,” Thyne said. “Some of us have never run in it. They say it’s a nice race.”

Eight to 10 people are needed for the organizational committee but Thyne says the volunteers make it happen.

“We organize it but it’s the volunteers who come out of the woodwork to make it happen,” he said. “We just orchestrate.”

The committee only needs to meet five times a year. Members are responsible for finding sponsors, taking care of refreshments for the runners, finding volunteers to set up the course, take registrations, work the finish line and tally the results.

Duncan says they have done it for so long that everybody knows their role and toward July everything falls into place.

“Up until that time it looks like the most unorganized, disorganized and it can’t gonna happen thing,” Thyne laughed. “Then all of a sudden it’s done.”

This year the event will take place Aug. 12. It usually brings in 400 to 500 runners.

“It’s an international race,” Thyne said. “Seriously. We have Kenyans come from West Des Moines. They come because we offer prize money.”

Even though the “crazy eight” are retiring from the committee, several have made the commitment to stay on for another year to serve as advisers.

Mink says being on the committee is not a burden. It’s all about having a good time and giving back to the community.

According to Thyne, the Classic isn’t like other races. The party starts before the race.

“Everybody has to have a good time whether they are working or running,” he related. “We go out of our way to make sure there is a lot of fun and laughter. That’s what keeps bringing the numbers back.”

Thyne said people enjoy the total chaos and the committee pulls it off.

“It’s just plain fun in a parking lot and then we go out and run.”

Anyone interested in joining the committee can call Thyne at 242-5186 or Mink at 259-8990.

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