Fortieth Annual Spirit Run in Fashion Island on March 17 Benefits Youth and Local Schools

Share this:
Adult participants at the start of the Spirit Run. Photo by Jim Collins

Hundreds of runners of all ages turned out for the 2024 Spirit Run, which marked its 40th year on March 17 by celebrating community, family and fitness to support local causes.

Held at Fashion Island in Newport Center, the Spirit Run benefitted local schools, Newport Beach Junior Lifeguards, youth sports programs and CASA Orange County for Children.

Entrants could compete in mile and 5K race categories for adults, including the Dog Mile for humans to race with their dogs.

Youth competitors also had the opportunity to compete in mile and 5K racing options. The Youth 5K was open to high school age and younger with a quarter mile race for age four, a half mile race for ages five and six and three separate mile races for ages seven, eight and nine to 14, and 15 to 17.

Spirit Run also offered events for casual runners and walkers to enjoy individually or as a family.

Top finishers in various categories received either cash prizes or gift certificates to Balboa Candy. Top canine competitors received gift cards to Lazy Dog Restaurant.

: Youth participants at the start of the Spirit Run. Photo by Jim Collins

Each finisher (adult, youth and canine) received a lucky medal at the finish line. Spirit Run also gave away leprechaun-approved decorative eyeglasses and headpieces to registrants to celebrate Irish pride. These decorative items were designed to complement the costume contest entrants’ attire. The best costume winners in several adult, youth and canine categories received merchandise prizes courtesy of Malarky’s Irish Pub.

Held in conjunction with the Spirit Run was a Youth, Fitness, & Dog Expo adjacent to the running and walking events. The Expo offered live music, a food truck, beverages, a rock-climbing wall, mini-skate park and other youth activities, fitness information, merchandise vendors and community organization booths.

This year’s Spirit Run was sponsored in part by the City of Newport Beach, Fashion Island, Fletcher Jones Motor Cars, the Exchange Club of Newport Harbor and the Daruty Family.

To learn more about Spirit Run, visit:

According to information from the Spirit Run website, from 1983-2010, Spirit Run was presented by PTAs from five Newport Beach elementary schools which shared its net proceeds.

In 2010, Newport-Mesa Spirit Run, Inc. (NMSRI), a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was founded to continue Spirit Run and share its net proceeds with schools throughout the Newport-Mesa Unified School District.

Also, since 2017, any school, youth sport, or youth cause may apply to fundraise with us.

NMSRI’s Board of Directors are unpaid, volunteers dedicated to continuing Spirit Run, youth fitness, providing free event entries to underprivileged students, and donating event net proceeds to participating schools, youth sports, and other youth causes.

So far, more than $370,000 in cash has been donated to schools, sports teams, and other youth causes.

Share this: