(NEWPORT BEACH, March 7, 2017)– The 34th Annual Spirit Run will be held on Sunday, March 12, 2017 at Fashion Island. Spirit Run’s net proceeds benefit education and athletics in the Newport Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD). New in 2017, schools outside NMUSD are participating in the “Dash For Cash” fundraiser through which they will earn commissions on registration fees paid by school supporters.
Spirit Run offers seven adult races for both casual joggers and elite competitors. Southern California USA Track & Field (So Cal USATF) has designated Spirit Run’s 5k as its 5k Championship Race. Also, for the fifth consecutive year, So Cal USATF has selected the event as one of twelve in Inyo, Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside, and Santa Barbara Counties to be included in its Grand Prix Road Championship Series.
Bring Back the Mile, whose mission is to elevate the mile as a premier event in the sport, has designated Spirit Run as a featured event. Spirit Run hosts four adult mile races. The Elite Mile is open only to highly elite athletes (men who can finish in less than 4 minutes 30 seconds; women, less than 5 minutes). The race travels a fast course and the winner is expected to finish in less than 4 minutes. Competitors who are not eligible for the Elite Mile but can finish in less than 7 minutes may compete in the Sub Elite Mile. Competitive and casual runners alike may run the Open Mile. And, new this year, any age may run with their dog on a leash in the Dog Mile.
Other Spirit Run adult races include the 10k, and the 15k where competitors run the 10k and the 5k and times are combined and ranked. Spirit Run also presents a 5k Family Walk that is open to all ages.
Spirit Run is the longest running youth road race event in Orange County with undoubtedly the broadest and most competitive range of youth races. Unlike other running events, at Spirit Run, children compete only against their own age groups, not adults. Most road race events host a single kids’ “fun run” or “dash” that is not timed. Spirit Run, however, has six separate one-quarter to 1-mile chip timed races broken down by age group (4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-19). Likewise, unlike most 5k events where children must compete against adults, Spirit Run’s Youth 5K allows children to compete without adult interference and for a child to break the finish line tape. Spirit Run also hosts a Toddler Trot.
Spirit Run celebrates its competitors with the most exceptional array of prizes around, including a $2,600 cash purse in the Elite and Sub Elite Mile and more than 250 non cash prizes. Non cash prizes include a year’s worth of Blaze Pizza, gift cards for a Yard House “Burger & Brew,” Baking Betty’s cookies, Spa Gregorie’s massage certificates, and gift cards for sporting apparel and shoes from Dick’s Sporting Goods and Asics. Those who compete in multiple races are eligible to win in each one.
The So Cal USATF and Bring Back the Mile distinctions, fast courses, and exceptional prizes entice elite and competitive runners from Southern California and beyond. Particularly notable athletes include Olympians Steve Scott and Julie Ertel and elite athletes from Newport Beach’s Cal Coast Track Club and the Bay Area’s Strava Track Club.
Olympic Silver Medalist, Julie Ertel has competed in the 10k and 5k to win prizes.
“I love all the prizes, that is what motivates me,” Julie said. “I’ve done a couple of Spa Gregorie’s massage days with friends and my family heads to Blaze Pizza every month.” This year Julie will add the Sub Elite or Open Mile for the chance to win cash or a Yard House “Burger & Brew.”
Spirit Run’s exceptional youth racing schedule also attracts highly competitive youth runners. Tustin’s Equalizers Track Club brings more than 100 youth competitors to Spirit Run every year. Founded in 1986, Equalizers is committed to helping runners age 19 and under achieve high ideals.
“The Newport-Mesa 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,” said Coach Jerry Palazzo, Equalizers Track Club. “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.”
A lively Youth and Fitness Expo will offer live music, a pancake breakfast, rock climbing, mini-skate park, and more. The City of Newport Beach will be holding Camp Newport in conjunction with Spirit Run. Camp Newport is an expo that gives Orange Countians a look into children’s summer camps and activities. Another exciting new feature this year is the new Dog Expo.
This year’s Spirit Run is sponsored in part by the City of Newport Beach (5k Title Sponsor), Kriser’s Natural Pet (Dog Mile Title Sponsor), Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza (Fashion Island), Fashion Island, Fletcher Jones Motor Cars, Regal Cinemas, Hoag Hospital, and the Daruty Family. Also lending a hand are Ralph’s, Pension Benefits Unlimited, and media sponsors Stu News Newport and Youth Runner Magazine.