Steamboat Springs Students started pounding the pavement this week looking for pledges for the annual Spirit Challenge.
The 15th annual Spirit Challenge, scheduled for May 6, kicks off Steamboat Springs' annual running series, but is more than a run because it raises funds for education. The funds are then distributed by the Routt County Education Foundation via mini-grants to teachers throughout the county.
"I always say to the kids, it's your opportunity to actually help yourself," Education Foundation president Millie Beall said.
The Spirit Challenge is a 5K and 10K running race, a 5K walk-race and children's walk-a-thon. The students will be asking donors to pledge per quarter-mile lap, with most students walking for an hour and a half. Pledges can be anywhere from 10 cents to $1 per lap and most students complete 20 to 30 laps.
The Spirit Challenge normally raises about $10,000, Beall said, although last year it set a record for number of participants and funds raised, at $12,000.
Teachers in Steamboat, south Routt and Hayden are invited to fill out simple grant forms to apply for $600 mini-grants. Last year, Beall said the foundation did not receive that many applications for mini-grants, so she reassured teachers that it is not a long form.
"I'm confident to say to each one of these people that we will fund you," Beall said.
The grants are given out on March 15 and Sept. 15.
Each child who participates in the Spirit Challenge will receive a prize donated by a local business and those earning over $40 will receive a T-shirt. Prizes will be awarded to top-money earners, typically those who raise over $100. Prizes include a season ski pass, a limousine ride, kayak lessons and a rafting trip.
The Spirit Challenge begins at 10 a.m., with registration at 9:30 a.m. Pre-race registration is $12 at Christy Sports and F.M. Light & Sons and $15 for race-day registration. There is a no-frills registration of $10 that does not include a T-shirt.
-- To reach Jennifer Bartlett call 871-4204 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org