Diane Daruty is an avid runner, a Newport-Mesa district parent and one of the lead organizers of the annual Spirit Run, which this year has come under the direction of a new community-based nonprofit organization. This year’s Spirit Run will be held March 27 at Fashion Island and its proceeds will go to support programs at all of the Newport-Mesa district schools.
1. How did you get started running?
I started running after college for basic fitness. I didn’t become serious about competing until after my second child was born and I quit my paid job to stay home with my children.
2. What is your favorite place to run?
I love to run near and around the Back Bay.
3. What is your favorite childhood memory?
Spending time with my father, whether going with him to the hardware store, working with him on my homework, or just hanging out.
4. How did the Spirit Run get started?
I’m told that Andersen, Lincoln, and Harbor View Elementary schools started Spirit Run 28 years ago.
5. What is new in this year’s Spirit Run?
We have three significant changes this year.
One, Newport-Mesa Spirit Run will be presented by a new nonprofit called Newport-Mesa Spirit Run Inc. formed by a board of directors of Newport-Mesa parents dedicated to keeping the event alive.
Two, any school in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District has the opportunity to share in the event’s net proceeds.
Three, with the generous support of the Rotary Club of Newport Balboa and other donors, Newport-Mesa Spirit Run will provide free entries to underprivileged students in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District. If you would like to donate, visit www.nmspiritrun.org.
6. What are the schools doing to get ready for the Spirit Run?
Schools are preparing in a variety of ways. Several elementary schools have running programs training students for several events including Newport-Mesa Spirit Run. Some middle school students will participate for a little fitness and fun, but also to get extra credit in PE. Several high school sports teams will participate for fun, fitness, school pride, and to earn some needed cash for the team.
7. How can members of the community participate?
Members of the community can participate by bringing the family to run or walk in a Spirit Run race, volunteering at the event, cheering on runners, and/or having fun at our Youth & Fitness expo. We have many long-time business sponsors who have supported the event as well as several new sponsors who will all be there to cheer on the runners and play games, give out samples and even show off a famous $500 goldfish!
8. What are some of the things funds raised by the Spirit Run have been used for in the schools?
In the past 27 years, Spirit Run’s net proceeds have been used to fund enrichment programs. But with recent education budget cuts, we expect funds to be used for anything from light bulbs to art.
9. What is your dream vacation?
My dream vacation would be to travel to places around the world with an equal balance of sightseeing, meeting people, relaxing, and of course, enjoying it all with loved ones.
10. Why should people participate or support Newport-Mesa Spirit Run?
Aside from promoting fitness and education, Spirit Run is a local tradition celebrating family, schools, and community. Our greatest desire is that our community come together to participate and keep this unique tradition alive.