More than 370 participants woke up early and turned out to “Support Oakdale Schools” on Saturday morning, March 20 for the first S.O.S. Fun Run/Walk to raise money for schools in the Oakdale Joint Unified School District.
Fair Oaks Elementary School Principal and event committee member David Kindred reported that more than $8,500 was raised and will be distributed to classrooms throughout the district in the form of teacher grants through the Oakdale Educational Foundation.
“The first S.O.S. Run was a huge success,” Kindred said. “With an anticipated number of participants at 150, we exceeded this number beyond our wildest hope. We have already heard of participants preparing for the 2011 race, which is already in the planning stages. Seeing the participation of veteran runners and families was a rewarding experience for everyone involved with this event.”
The event that started and finished at Cloverland Elementary School and wound its way through city streets in between, was described as having a great energy overall and that everything seemed to go off without a hitch.
“I like the family atmosphere and that it promotes fitness,” said Cloverland sixth grade teacher Lori Guyll after completing the event.
“The kids were so excited,” she said of the race. “They were trying to beat the adults. Plus, it’s an overall good cause.”
Guyll’s daughter, second grade Cloverland student Olivia Guyll, was equally excited by the morning’s event.
“I beat my daddy,” the young runner said, following her one-mile run. “It was fun.”
The age range of participants was from three to 71, including participants Oakdale Mayor Farrell Jackson and OJUSD Trustee Diane Gilbert. Also on the course as volunteers were District Superintendent Fred Rich and assistant superintendents Marc Malone and Barbara Shook. A large sampling of runners included district employees, students, family members, and community members, all running or walking to support Oakdale schools.
“This is such a great thing to help all the schools and support fitness in the community,” said Sierra View Elementary School sixth grade teacher Melissa Meyer. “I mean Oakdale is such a great town for this sort of thing. They always come out and show their support.”
Oakdale school district educators Jeff and Stacey Aprile came up with the fun run idea about a year ago. They presented the idea and it gained momentum, turning into a major fundraising event. The SOS committee was formed, comprised of the Apriles, Judy Alvey, Matt Hanko, Frank Clark, Brenda Kindred, and David Kindred, and the planning began in September.
In the days leading up to the event, Stacey Aprile, who is also Cloverland’s principal, said that the event was already proving to be a “huge success” because there was already a large number of race registrants.
Kindred said that future plans for the S.O.S. run include building on the success of this year and learning as first-year run coordinators. He added that putting it all together was a team effort.
“This event proved to be a large success due to the hard work of volunteers, the high energy of participants, and strong race organization,” he said. “…The S.O.S. run demonstrated the true spirit of Oakdale and how great this community really is.”
The overall 5K race male winner was Tony Pacheco and the female winner was Alicia Pacheco. The overall one-mile race winner was Mike Bower and the female winner was Alexis Sibley.
Leader staff reporter Teresa Hammond contributed to this story.