Upcoming Sprit Run is committed to our youth

The 34th Annual Newport Mesa Spirit Run is coming to Fashion Island on Sunday, March 12, and it translates to much needed funding for our schools.

Spirit Run’s (“NMSRI’s”) commitment to youth fitness extends beyond the day’s event. In 2011, NMSRI launched its Youth Running Training and Scholarship Program. With help from members of the University of California, Irvine (UCI) Track Team, NMSRI conducts free running training at several Newport Mesa Unified elementary schools to prepare students for Spirit Run. This year training programs are taking place at College Park, Newport Coast, Pomona and Victoria Elementary schools. Elementary schools who participated in prior years include Eastbluff, Kaiser, Killybrooke and Whittier.

The running training takes place two days a week from January through March. At several of the participating schools, the vast majority of the students have limited ability to pay entry fees. NMSRI offers them free event entries as well as free bus transportation for them and their families to the event.

Kid running

The goal of NMSRI’s program is to improve the participants’ fitness and to prepare them for Spirit Run. There is also a hope that the UCI athletes will instill in the children the desire to run. Moreover, the UCI athletes are encouraging them to pursue running or another sport not only as a healthy lifestyle but possibly as a high school and college experience.

In addition to its work at elementary schools, in 2014, NMSRI helped Costa Mesa and TeWinkle middle schools form Cross Country teams. The teams compete at Spirit Run’s Youth 5K against all district middle schools to win a perpetual trophy. The top 10 team members also win pizza every month for a year, courtesy of Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, Fashion Island.

Over the last six events, NMSRI has granted 1,000 free entries to underprivileged district students.

For more information and to register for Spirit Run, visit www.nmspiritrun.org