Steamboat Springs The name has changed throughout the years. The organizers and the beneficiaries also have changed. But one thing about the Spirit Challenge remains the same - it's a good reason to get out for a run.
The race, which combines a 10K, 5K run/walk and a walk-a-thon, is Saturday at Steamboat Springs Middle School. It is the main annual fundraiser for the Legacy Education Foundation - which offers grants for place-based projects that foundation vice president Marcia Martin described as helping "promote community involvement and leadership among students," at Routt County's public schools.
Walk-a-thon coordinator Laurie Elendu said that students in Yampa are so worked up to participate that three times as many have signed up as last year.
Second-grader "Sarvis Ana-rella was one of the winners last year," Elendu said. "His grandmother helped establish the race and his enthusiasm inspires others, so now the other kids are gung-ho to do more laps than him. Plus they're hoping to raise money, knowing it will come back to support opportunities at the school."
Routt County students in kindergarten through sixth grade will try to complete as many pledge-supported, quarter-mile laps at the middle school as possible during the walk-a-thon from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
The 5K and 10K races will be the first events of the 2007 Steamboat Springs Running Series.
"It's a real family event," series director John Chapman said. "The Running Series event piggy backs and compliments (the walk-a-thon). Mom and dad can get some miles in to start off the series while the elementary school kids do the walk-a-thon."
The popular races, which feature moderate rolling courses, often have a much younger make-up than the later series events, Chapman said.
The 5K loop starts and ends at the middle school as does the paved 10K course, which goes out and back through Strawberry Park. Both races start at 10 a.m.
Leashed pets are as welcome as the legion of baby strollers that are sure to show.
Adults can register in ad-vance at Christy Sports for $20 or $25 on race day. Youth registration costs $1 for each year of a runner's age, up to 16.
Visit www.runningseries.com for more race information or www.yampavalleylegacy.org for more details on the Legacy Education Foundation. Walk-a-thon students need their pledge sheets in by Friday.
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