Ed Knaggs’ 419-Mile Opening Day Run Begins May 1

Excitement is building as renowned West Coast League coach Ed Knaggs prepares to embark on his extraordinary Opening Day Run, 419 miles (give or take a mile) from Wenatchee, Washington to Corvallis, Oregon, beginning Wednesday, May 1.

Knaggs is running for the love of the sport, yes – he’s been a dedicated runner for many years, and has finished five marathons – but this time he’s running to shine a light on adolescent mental health.

Coach Knaggs has left an indelible mark on West Coast League baseball, boasting an impressive six championships as Wenatchee AppleSox head coach, and an additional five WCL titles during his current tenure working with Corvallis Knights head coach Brooke Knight. Beyond the field, Ed’s passion extends to mental health advocacy – a cause that’s long been close to his heart.

Knaggs’s 28-day, 419-mile journey takes him through the picturesque landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, from the rolling apple orchards of the Wenatchee Valley to the serene beauty of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, bookending the dramatic Columbia River Gorge. This is more than a physical challenge and scenic tour; it’s a mission to break down barriers and spark conversations about the mental wellness of adolescents.

With his Opening Day Run, Ed is championing two Pacific Northwest organizations: Trillium Family Services, with campuses in Corvallis and Portland; and Only7Seconds, headquartered in Chelan, Washington.

Trillium Family Services is Oregon’s largest provider of mental and behavioral healthcare for children and families, committed to creating safe and supportive environments for those struggling with mental health challenges. Only7Seconds is on a mission to ending loneliness, especially for youth. Promoting mental and social health wellness awareness, O7S is creating a future where every human experiences meaningful social connection and belonging – emphasizing the importance of taking just seven seconds to ask someone how they’re truly feeling.

“In the fall of 2018, the next year I’d be turning 60,” Knaggs says, “and I wanted to do something different. Something that wouldn’t be easy to do, that’s physical. And by then I was coaching for Corvallis, and I thought, ‘To drum up interest in the West Coast League, I’ll run from Wenatchee to Corvallis.’ That was my initial thought.”

But the 2019 season came too soon, and thanks to the pandemic there wasn’t a 2020 season at all. And as he continued to think about doing something, Knaggs realized that aside from his ego, he wasn’t yet sure why.

And then it came to him. In January 2023, Knaggs was listening to the Positive University podcast while training on a southern California beach for the Los Angeles Marathon. In this particular episode, the guest was running a marathon every day, at that point having run 85 marathons in 85 days.

“He admitted he was doing it for his ego,” Knaggs recalls. “But he was also trying to raise awareness for youth mental wellness, and foster parenting. And as I was listening to him talk about his teenage daughter attempting suicide, it just hit me, like someone slapped me in the face: I had my why.”

“Why am I going to run from Wenatchee to Corvallis? I got it!

“In Oregon, for Corvallis, I’m going to run for Trillium Services, because that’s where my son Cory spent some time, and got helped. He would tell you today they saved his life. And in Washington … just a year or so before, the son of a former AppleSox player had died by suicide. And the family had said that if someone wanted to donate to something in his name, to support Only7Seconds. So I donated.”

But as a teacher and coach, Knaggs knew he couldn’t have a significant financial impact. And listening to that podcast on the beach, he realized that he could support Trillium and Only7Seconds through his résumé and relationships in the West Coast League.

Ed Knaggs’ dedication to mental health advocacy is deeply personal. Through his years in coaching, Ed has witnessed the silent struggles faced by athletes and individuals dealing with mental health issues. Closer to home, his run symbolizes resilience and the courage to confront these challenges head-on. Ed’s journey will be documented closely, inspiring others to join the conversation about mental health.

Please join the entire West Coast League in following Ed Knaggs’ incredible journey as he sets off on this meaningful adventure. Stay tuned for daily updates as Ed takes the first steps tomorrow on his 419-mile run. Together, let’s support Ed and his mission to make a difference, one stride and seven seconds at a time.

About the West Coast League: The West Coast League is the West’s premier summer collegiate baseball league. Encompassing Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and now Alberta, the WCL showcases pro prospects from major collegiate conferences around the nation. Every summer, the League features unparalleled fan and player experiences, with North America’s best baseball weather and a mix of classic and modern ballparks, all backdropped by the sport’s most stunning scenery. The 2019 MLB amateur draft began with former Corvallis Knight Adley Rutschman selected with the overall No. 1 pick by the Baltimore Orioles, and the 2022 draft featured two West Coast League alumni, Brooks Lee and Gabriel Hughes, among the first 10 picks.