5K KIDS Fun Run & Walk: A Positive Force Making a Difference

On Saturday, May 4th, kids and adults of all ages arrived at The King’s Academy campus in Sunnyvale, eager and excited to start the 3rd annual 5K KIDS Fun Run & Walk, an event sponsored by the Sunnyvale nonprofit K.I.D.S. and Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety. With smiles as bright as the morning sun, runners donned their 5K t-shirts, pinned their race bibs, and handed their book donations to Reading Partners who provides reading tutoring services at schools in Sunnyvale.

5K-Checkin-SSD June2013 Newsletter

Photo (by D. Thompson)

For many Sunnyvale students, the 5K is the culmination of a school-based program called the Marathon Club, a program begun by Sunnyvale resident and director of the nonprofit K.I.D.S., Maria Dulay, and Sunnyvale Public Safety Officer Bradley Militano, to introduce students to the fun sport of running and to bring awareness to the plight of childhood obesity in Sunnyvale, where nearly 1 out of 3 kids under the age of 18 is considered obese.

Schools participating in this year’s event included Bishop, Cherry Chase, Ellis, Fairwood, Columbia Middle, Sunnyvale Middle, Challenger, and The King’s Academy. Many of the Marathon Club students from Vargas and Cumberland ended their 10-week running programs at this event. Teachers did a great job encouraging their students to get involved.

For anyone who has ever laced up a pair of running shoes, he/she knows that running is a positive force. Vincent Gomez, a student at Fremont High School, who knows first-hand the disappointments of and the triumphs over childhood obesity, was at the front of the pack on Saturday. After Officer Militano gave the green light to go, Vincent led more than 300 runners around the first turn of the track and through the rest of The King’s Academy campus in Sunnyvale.

5K-Vincent-Start_SSD June2013 Newsletter

Photo (by D. Thompson)

Mayor Anthony (Tony) Spitaleri said, “This was my first time attending the 3rd Annual 5K Kids Fun Run & Walk. It was extremely inspirational to participate with folks from all cultures and ages. We all shared the same goal, staying healthy and having fun while running or walking.”

The 5K was preceded by welcome remarks from Mayor Spitaleri and Sunnyvale’s Chief of Public Safety, Frank Grgurina. Sunnyvale School District Superintendent, Dr. Ben Picard, who also ran in the 5K, introduced the Vargas Elementary School Chorus. Under the guidance of volunteer music teacher, Bonnie Miller, the chorus of 3rd, 4th, and 5th-grade students led the runners and spectators in a beautiful rendition of our National Anthem.

5K-Vargas Chorus-National Anthem

Photo (by D. Thompson)

“This event brought families together around a fun and fitness activity. Events like this are wonderful as they build a sense of community around healthy and fun activities supporting our children,” noted Superintendent, Dr. Picard.

Parents and friends positioned themselves around the track and the bleachers to cheer on their favorite runners. The positive force was felt not just by the runners, but also by the parent spectators, beaming with pride as they watched their children give their personal best to running or walking the entire 5K distance.

5K-Runners-SSD June2013 Newsletter

Photo (by D. Thompson)

Even the littlest of runners gave it their personal best. At the end of the 5K, Jon Wilson of the Curtis Lee Sanders Foundation, gathered the toddlers onto the football field for a toddler trot. And, in the blink of an eye, they ran the 50-yard dash. Not to be left out, the older kids and the adults also ran the 50-yard dash after having run the 5K. It was a spirited end to a fantastic event.

5K-Toddler Dash-SSD June2013 Newsletter

Photo (by D. Thompson)

Everyone had a fun time. For everyone, this event meant something special. It was an event that made a difference. For some, this was their first running event, but not their last. For some parents, it was a realization of what their kids are capable of doing. For most kids, this event was a time and activity shared with their parents.

Chief Grgurina remarked, “”I was very impressed with the positive energy associated with the event. The sponsors, volunteers and participants all contributed to the success of the event and I was honored to be there along with my children. I look forward to continued involvement with the event and fully support the effort.”

5K-Militano, Picard, Dulay, Grgurina-SSD June2013 Newsletter

Photo (by D. Thompson)

We cannot thank the sponsors and donors enough for adding their unique support to this event: The King’s Academy, Sports Basement, El Camino Hospital, Hopkins Honda, Moose Lodge Sunnyvale, PostNet Sunnyvale, Silicon Valley Ambulance, Spitfire Advertising, Trader Joe’s Sunnyvale, Jamba Juice, Mody & Dulay Trust, and Bullene Landscaping. Thank you to the volunteers who distributed t-shirts and race bibs at the Kick-off event on April 28th and at the 5K.

5K-Sponsor banner-SSD June2013 Newsletter

Photo (by D. Thompson)

“I thank every one who made the event possible. Their caring spirit made the 5K Kids Fun Run & Walk the great success that I know it will continue to be for years to come,” said Mayor Spitaleri.

5K-Jocelyn & Mayor-SSD June2013 Newsletter

Photo (by D. Thompson)

Contributors: M.T. Dulay (Vargas Elementary School parent) and B.C. Militano (Public Safety Officer, Sunnyvale DPS)

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