The morning of Saturday, April 18 brought made to order weather for 272 runners, spectators and volunteers greeted by a blue, sun-filled sky as they participated in the Sixth Annual Support Oakdale Schools (SOS) Fun Run/Walk.
A core committee of seven began planning the event earlier in the year and relied on the help of close to 50 volunteers to execute the fundraiser for Oakdale Education Foundation (OEF), a not for profit which benefits Oakdale schools.
Organizers reported over $10,000 was earned as a result of strong sponsorship commitment and registered runners.
“The community of Oakdale served as wonderful support for our event,” SOS Sponsorship chair and OEF Board Member Ted Thome stated. “From our sponsors to our volunteers to our wonderful runners.
“I was thoroughly impressed by the family involvement,” Thome continued. “From the running to the volunteers. To see a three-year-old holding hands with a mom, crossing a finish line … that just tugs at your heart.”
The SOS Fun Run began in 2010 as a grassroots effort by a few teachers and parents with hopes of bringing a fun, affordable fundraiser to Oakdale that could be enjoyed by families. Each year it is hosted at Cloverland Elementary School. Two race distances are featured: a one mile and a 5k (3.1 miles).
“What I really like about our event is first, you get whole families out there,” veteran committee member Matt Hanko said. “Secondly, you get kids out there that aren’t athletically inclined, but they get out there to test their limits.
“…Or ... the kid that came across the finish line dead last,” he continued, “with the whole crowd cheering him in, that’s what it’s about.”
Top one-mile female finisher was Kyannah Hernandez, 16, with a 6:43 finish time and top male finisher was Josh Gorman, 17, with a 5:39 finish. Top two finishers in the 5k were: Jodie Paneda, 26, with a 21:20 and Armando Rodriguez, 20, finishing in 17:57.
The 2015 committee was comprised of a new group of volunteers with Hanko being the one veteran among the group. The group of seven shared this year held no specific monetary goal or registered runner benchmark. The goal of the group was to simply keep the event going, as the past committee retired following their five-year commitment.
“When Jeff (Aprile) offered this up to Judy and I in 2010, I jumped on it,” Hanko said of getting involved in organizing the fundraiser. “Because, I really enjoy community service. This is my kind of event.”
This year marked the first year that the race offered timing chips on the racers’ bibs, an addition touted as a win and a definite worthwhile investment for the future of the race.
The Seventh Annual SOS Fun Run is tentatively scheduled for March 12, 2016. Results of the 2015 1 mile and 5k event can be found at www.sosfunrun.com.