Ten reasons to participate in Spirit Run 

The 35th Annual Spirit Run will take place in less than two weeks on Sunday, March 18 at Fashion Island. Have you registered yet? Below are 10 reasons to register now!

No. 1Wide range of running events for adults of all ability levels.

Mile: Depending on your age, and how fast you can finish, there are several options.

Elite Mile: This is open to men and women who can finish in four minutes fifteen seconds, and four minutes, fifty seconds, respectively. It is also USA Track & Field Southern California’s (SCA USATF’s) 2018 Road Mile Championship.

Elite Mile competitors

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Photos courtesy of Spirit Run

Elite Milers mid-race at Spirit Run

Open Mile: If you’re not elite but can finish a mile in ten minutes, set a personal record or check your fitness in the Open Mile.

Family Mile: This new event is for families to jog and/or walk together. Participants have 20 minutes to finish.

5k: Spirit Run’s 5k course loops around Fashion Island. The 5k attracts highly competitive runners, and more casual runners looking for exercise and fun.

10k: Spirit Run’s 10k is essentially a double loop of the 5k. Selected as SCA USATF’s 2018 Championship race, the competition should be great. Like the 5k, however, it’s also great for those wanting a great workout.

The Juan Ramirez 15k – Marathoners and other distance runners race the 10k and 5k and their finishing times are combined and ranked. Those who can’t seem to get enough, race the Open Mile in between the 10k and 5k!

Youth runners at starting line

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Youth runners take off at the starting line

No. 2 – Watch your children compete in one of Spirit Run’s youth races.

Spirit Run hosts eight races for children.

Youth 5k: The Youth 5k allows children to compete against one another without adult interference, and for a child to break the finish line tape. Parents may register for the Adult 5k and run with their children in the Youth 5k.

Youth One-quarter, One-half and Open Mile: Spirit Run hosts a one-quarter mile race for age four, a one-half mile race for ages five and six, and three separate mile races for ages seven through 12. Children ages 13 - 19 may compete in the Open Mile.

Toddler Trot: Spirit Run strives to include everyone, even the little ones. It takes place in a fenced area with Astroturf in the Expo area. Most of the tots run over and over again!

Toddler Trot

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Toddler Trot takes place in the Expo area – always a great photo opportunity

No. 3 Run or walk with the whole family, even the grandparents.

Walk or run one of Spirit Run’s family events – the 5k Family Walk or the new Family Mile. The entire family is welcome, from your baby in his/her jogger, to the grandparents. Don’t worry about the price tag, either. Rather than charging each family member an individual entry fee, Spirit Run has a new Family Rate allowing a family to save as much as 30 percent off standard individual pricing. Add the grandparents to save even more!

No. 4 Run with you canine in the Dog Mile.

Have fun with your pooch in the Dog Mile. With 15 minutes to finish, you can jog or walk. But, this race is also popular with the speedsters. Last year, the winner and his dog finished in four minutes 41 seconds!

Lady with 2 dogs

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Jog or walk the Dog Mile with your favorite furry friends

No. 5 Compete to win as much as $1,000 and non-cash prizes.

Spirit Run arguably has the most impressive prizes of any running event around. It is offering a $3,800 cash purse in the Elite Mile and more than 250 non-cash prizes. More than 150 can win the most coveted food prize – free pizza every month for a year at Blaze Pizza, Fashion Island. Other prizes include gift cards from Fashion Island, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Lazy Dog Café and Baking Betty’s and certificates for massage from Spa Gregorie’s. 

No. 6 Double or triple your workout and compete to win multiple prizes.

Spirit Run invites you to compete in two, even three races. Those in The Juan Ramirez 15k run the 10k and the 5k. Their times are combined and ranked, and prizes are awarded. But why stop there? In between the 10k and the 5k, there’s time to jump in the Open Mile, or join your dog for the Dog Mile. Another option is to race the Elite, Open, or Dog Mile, take a breath, and then run the Adult 5k. Even the children double their fitness and fun. Many run the Youth 5k followed by their age appropriate mile race.

The best news – you are eligible to win in every race you complete! 

No. 7 Be a fan.

Not up for racing or walking? Come watch instead. With 12 races, there is plenty to see. Be part of the excitement when the winner breaks four minutes in the Elite Mile. You won’t be able to hold back a smile when you see the human dog duos in the Dog Mile. You’ll be amazed to see some pairs finish in less than five minutes. And, of course, it’s always delightful to watch the kids compete, especially the little ones in the Toddler Trot.

3 Cheerleaders

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Newport-Mesa cheerleaders keep the energy high at Spirit Run

You can also be entertained by high school students performing at Spirit Run. Experience the sounds of the Corona del Mar Middle and High vocal students as they sing patriotic songs and the National Anthem before the races. Corona del Mar’s Drumline and Jazz Band are also performing. Feel the energy of the Newport-Mesa cheerleaders.

Girl bungee jumping

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This girl is high in the sky at the Bungee Jump

No. 8 Enjoy the Youth, Fitness, and Dog Expo.

Before and after your race, there’s plenty of fun in store at Spirit Run’s expo. Stop by Plum’s Café for a gourmet pancake breakfast including buttermilk pancakes, Oregon pepper bacon, and Tillamook cheddar egg frittatas. The kids won’t want to leave the action including the bungee trampolines, a rock climbing wall, a mini-skate park, a photo booth, giveaways, and so much more. 

Adults, cool down after your event with a free massage. Meet health and fitness professionals. Discover Camp Newport’s many summer day camps and away camps at Gold Arrow and Yosemite Sierra Summer Camps. Finally, bring your dog or adopt a new one at the Dog Expo. Your pooch can enjoy free food samples and more.

No. 9 Raise funds for youth fitness and education.

By participating in Spirit Run, you are supporting local youth. Spirit Run is presented by a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to youth fitness and education, and its net proceeds are donated to local schools. More than $1,500,000 has been donated, with more than $300,000 in the last seven years alone. Participating Newport Mesa Unified (NMUSD) schools and high school teams benefit from Spirit Run’s net proceeds. Schools outside NMUSD may also fundraise through Spirit Run’s “Dash for Cash” fundraiser.

Steve Scott leading kids at start line

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Three-time Olympian and Word Record Holder Steve Scott leads kids on the course

No. 10 Celebrate a morning with your family, friends and community.

Spirit Run’s vibe is contagious. Students from participating schools and their families attend, as well as teachers, principals and other school supporters. The enthusiasm of parents watching their children compete and the school spirit is palpable.

Even Olympians have caught the Spirit Run bug. Steve Scott, three time Olympian and World Record Holder for the most sub-four minute miles, has attended every year since 1983. Scott warms up the kids before each youth race and leads them on the course. 

Olympic Silver Medalist Julie Swail has competed at Spirit Run for well over a decade. She appreciates the challenge of running multiple races (she raced three last year). She also loves the rewards, as she typically walks away with three or four prizes.

Members of the University of California Irvine’s Track Team are Spirit Run supporters. For many years, they have volunteered in Spirit Run’s Awards booth. With more than 250 prizes, it is a very busy place. 

To register and for more details about Spirit Run, visit www.nmspiritrun.org.

For the second consecutive year, Stu News is proud to be Spirit Run’s media sponsor.