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2021 Virtual Firehouse Run a Real Success in Santa Clara

The Santa Clara Firefighters Foundation 2021 Firehouse 5K Run to support the Santa Clara Schools Foundation is projected to raise about $25,000 despite going virtual with 800 fewer entrants than in pre-COVID years. This year, almost 400 virtual participants raised the same amount as 1,200 runners raised in 2017 and 2018.

“Although the pandemic has impacted many social gatherings and events, we are lucky to have the Firehouse Run community stay dedicated through these tough times and continue to help us fundraise money for schools,” said Station 1 firefighter Bryant Rios, who coordinated the run along with Station 9 firefighter Lukas Lerner.

“Our goal has always been to raise as much money as possible for our local schools, and we wanted to continue the momentum of this impactful event by continuing it during these difficult times as a virtual event,” said Rios. “It is always rewarding to see how much money we raise…and how that money is used to support our local public schools.”

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Rios said that the Firehouse Run raised a record $30,000 for its virtual run in 2020 and the projected $25,000 in 2021 in part because of having loyal sponsors—even Stan’s Donuts. Also, there were no logistics fees for closing streets, permits, etc.

For 2021, individuals and teams walked or ran between Dec. 5 and Dec. 12 at any location—from a treadmill in their home to a school running track. Rios, his wife and their Corgi, Mochi, completed the 5K using the ASICS Runkeeper app along a neighborhood trail.

Santa Clara Schools Foundation President Elise DeYoung and her husband, Mike, were armchair supporters.

“Even folks like Mike and I, who couldn’t walk this year, have a great opportunity to participate and support the cause by simply registering and paying our fee,” said DeYoung. “While we certainly miss not being able to gather together with the community…everybody can still make a difference.”

San Jose resident and avid runner Christy Chalfant ran her fourth Firehouse Run. She clocked her solo 5K run along the Coyote Creek trail at 32.25 minutes.

“Being connected to the running community and having virtual races like the Firehouse Run have kept me motivated and moving during this last year and a half, and for that I am grateful!” said Chalfant.

Since the Firehouse Run began in 2015, founded by Fire Captain Chris Eichhorn, it has raised $164,000 for school grants and awards for programs, field trips, class supplies, etc. and in 2020, for computer applications and resources for students learning from home.

“As a long-time member of the Santa Clara Unified School District community (parent, PTA, substitute teacher and Board Member), it is incredibly heart-warming for me to see this active fun group of Santa Clara’s already amazing hometown heroes taking such an active role to impact the school district,” said DeYoung. “They are keeping the fun in fundraising and making this event one that many people look forward to next year and the year after and…”

For Firehouse Run results, visit the Firehouse Run website.

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