Hundreds of Runners Participate in Annual Spirit Run in Fashion Island

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Runners leave the start of the Spirit Run / photo by Jim Collins

The 38th annual Newport Mesa Spirit Run was held on Sunday, March 27, in Fashion Island.

Hundreds of runners of all ages participated in the Spirit Run, from tots to teens to adults, and even folks with fleet-footed pooches.

For nearly four decades, the Spirit Run has been a much-loved community event in Orange County.

A youth and fitness expo with live music, food and beverage, and health and fitness booths was held in conjunction to the Spirit Run, as was Camp Newport, which gave locals a look into children’s summer camps and activities.

Runners and their dogs prepare for the Dog Mile race / photo by Jim Collins

Entertainment was provided by the Corona del Mar High Jazz Band in the expo, and performances at the start line or along the race course by the Corona del Mar High Drumline, and Corona del Mar High and Middle and Estancia High cheerleading teams.

Grammy nominated Janine Wynn and Newport Harbor High students sung the National Anthem before races.

On the Spirit Run website (, Coach Jerry Palazzo of the Equalizers Track Club is quoted as saying “Spirit Run is the premier youth road-racing event in Southern California, being the only one I know of that treats youth distance runners as competitors in the sport, rather than simply adding ‘kid’ races as a sideshow to an adult-oriented event. The energy in the Youth Only 5K delivers race times not seen in typical ‘all-ages’ events, and the unique Elite 1-Mile road race is a barnburner that leaves spectators staring at the clock with disbelief.”

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Families participate in the Spirit Run / photo by Jim Collins


RACE 1 Youth & Walk 5K: Kevin Steinman

RACE 2 Masters Mile: Jacques Sallberg

RACE 3 Open & (15-18YRS): Travis Dean

RACE 4 Elite Mile: Nathan Sloan

RACE 5 Adult 5K: Roosevelt Cook

RACE 6 Dog Mile: Brian Duff

RACE 7 Family Mile: Jake Thomason

RACE 8 (11-14YRS): Aiden Zavala

RACE 9 (7-10YRS): Indiana Tzinberg

RACE 10: (5-6YRS) Half Mile: Leila Talesh

RACE 11 (4-6YRS) Quarter Mile: Dani Poole


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) non profit, was founded to continue Spirit Run and to share its net proceeds with schools throughout the Newport-Mesa Unified School District.

Since 2017, NMSRI has invited any school or youth cause to apply to fundraise with Spirit Run. To learn more, about this opportunity, visit the Fundraise Page or email [email protected].


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


  • More than $350,000 in cash donated to local schools.
  • More than 2,500 free event entries donated to underprivileged youth.
  • Conducted free training at lower income, elementary schools to prepare students for Spirit Run.
  • Donated bus transportation to Spirit Run to lower income students and families.
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