Spirit Run Returns, Benefits Local Youth

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Kids take off during the youth run at the 2018 Spirit Run at Fashion Island.
— Photo by Jim Collins

The 37th Annual Spirit Run for runners and walkers — and their canine friends — of all ages and fitness levels is scheduled for March 1. The event kicks off at 6 a.m. at Fashion Island.

“For 37 years, Spirit Run has been a much-loved community event in Orange County,” officials wrote in a Feb. 11 press release. “Generations of people have enjoyed Spirit Run.”

Net proceeds from the event benefit local youth education and fitness and other causes, officials noted.

Organizers promise a “lively” youth and fitness expo with live music, food and beverage, rock climbing, a mini-skate park, dox expo with pet adoptions, and a “spirit” themed costume contest with prizes, and more.

The city of Newport Beach will also host Camp Newport in conjunction with Spirit Run, giving Orange County locals a look into children’s summers camps and activities.

Spirit Run is a “Bring Back the Mile” featured event and part of Southern California USA Track & Field’s Grand Prix Road Running Championship Series.

Elite athletes also love Spirit Run, officials wrote, including Steve Scott, “America’s Premier Miler,” who has attended Spirit Run every year since 1983.

Runners and their dogs at the 2018 Spirit Run at Fashion Island.
— Photo by Jim Collins

The event is produced annually by the nonprofit Newport-Mesa Spirit Run, Inc.

From 1983-2010, Spirit Run was presented by five Newport Beach elementary schools. In 2010, NMSRI was founded to continue Spirit Run and to share its net proceeds with schools throughout the Newport-Mesa Unified School District.

In 2017, NMSRI introduced “Dash for Cash” for schools and high school teams outside NMUSD, which earn a percentage of registration fees paid by their supporters.

New this year, Spirit Run is inviting companies to form teams to run or walk. Company teams may choose a charity that has partnered with the event to benefit from their registration fees. Teams may go the “extra mile” and solicit tax-deductible donations for the charity through Spirit Run’s online fundraising platform.

Adult events include: 10k, 5k, Juan Ramirez 15k (10k + 5k), Mile (Elite and Open), and 5k Walk.

Youth events: Youth 5k, six separate ¼ mile races for ages 4-18, and Toddler Trot.

Family events: Family Mile or 5k Family Walk.

Even dogs are invited to run with their owners age 13 and older in Spirit Run’s Dog Mile.

Spirit Run is also a competitive road racing event. A number of sub-4-minute finishers are expected to participate in the Elite Mile and a sub 4:20 finish in the Dog Mile. Many elite and highly competitive distance runners are also competing and new course records are anticipated in the 5k and 10k.

Cash prizes for Elite Mile winners, 200 non-cash prizes including gift cards to Blaze Pizza, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Asics, A Snail’s Pace, Balboa Candy, and Lazy Dog Restaurant.

The event is sponsored by the city of Newport Beach, Gold Arrow Camp, Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza at Fashion Island, Fletcher Jones Motor Cars, Fashion Island, Regal Cinemas, Hoag Hospital, and the Daruty family.

For more information, visit nmspiritrun.org.

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