July 23, 2024

Ghouls for schools: Annual Monster Dash benefits Ashland Schools Foundation

Costumed runners start the 5K and 10K race near the bandshell in Lithia Park Saturday. A record 1,200 runners registered for the runs. photo by Bob Palermini
October 28, 2023

Hundreds of runners, many costumed, do a haunt-jaunt starting and ending in Lithia Park

By Bert Etling,

The 15th annual Monster Dash Run for Education attracted hundreds of runners to Lithia Park on Saturday, in spite of chilly conditions. Race proceeds support grants in Ashland Public Schools through the Ashland Schools Foundation. In 2021-22, ASF provided over $125,000 in grant support to our local schools. This year’s run, produced again in collaboration with the Ashland Kiwanis Club, is expected to raise more than $40,000 for Ashland schools. Funds collected at the event will go toward classroom grants in the Ashland School District, which can be used for classroom projects, materials, supplies, and specialized support.

Bjorn Austbo won the 5K race with a time of 18:53. He is an Ashland High School running athlete who rated the race course at “tough.” photo by Bob Palermini

Taking home top honors overall in the 1-mile race was 13-year-old male Kaden Loftus of Ashland in 6:01.00, ahead of 69-year-old male David Allman of Ashland in 6:19.28. The top female finisher was 16-year-old Kara Loftus of Ashland in 7:06.64.

First in the 5K was male Bjorn Austbo, 16, of Ashland with a time of 18:53.59, ahead of Malachi Loeliger, 17, of Ashland in 19:19.33. The first female finisher was Madison Hornig, 32, of Ashland in 24:05.85. 

Leading 10K finishers was male Zachery Blanco, 27, of Talent, with a time of 39:52.94, followed by female Hannah Woodcock, 29, of Medford, in 41:21.17.

Aside from overall top finishers, winners were recognized in five age groups in each of the three run lengths for both males and females, plus best group and best couple in each.

Email Executive Editor Bert Etling at or call or text him at 541-631-1313.

The 15th annual Monster Dash Run for Education, started in chilly conditions Saturday at Lithia Park. The event is sponsored by the Ashland Schools Foundation and raises money for Ashland schools. The event is expected to raise over $40,000 for Ashland schools. photo by Bob Palermini
If you were in Lithia Park Saturday morning you know where Waldo was — at the Monster Dash. photo by Bob Palermini
Everyone who participated in the run received a medal. photo by Bob Palermini
Suzee Grilley lead a taiko drum group from Elbow Room Taiko. They performed during the run at the Lithia Park Butler Bandshell. photo by Bob Palermini
Paulina McGrady, dressed as a zombie, takes a photo before the Ashland Schools Foundation 15th annual Monster Dash. photo by Bob Palermini
The Eldridge family (from left, Spencer, Nathan, Chase and Leslie) came in costume for the Ashland Schools Foundation 15th annual Monster Dash. Leslie is the Ashland Parks & Recreation department director. photo by Bob Palermini
Rudi and Tyler Turituri, Central Point, dressed in their astronaut costumes, try to stay warm before their first-ever Monster Dash. photo by Bob Palermini
Ash and Christine Shepherd of Ashland came in flamingo costumes to participate in the Monster Dash. photo by Bob Palermini
Picture of Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Email him at

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