Even though it was crisp and chilly on Sunday, Dec. 4, about 1,200 people showed up bright and early at Santa Clara University to walk and run 5K or 10K through the city in the second annual Firehouse Run. After former Miss Silicon Valley Melissa Gialdini energized the crowd with her solo of the National Anthem, the runners took off. At press time, Chris Eichhorn, firefighter and race director, revealed that this year’s Firehouse Run raised over $20,000 for the Santa Clara Schools Foundation and about $4,000 for the Santa Clara Firefighters Foundation.
“This year we’re having the same focus as we did last year, which is raising money for the Santa Clara Schools Foundation,” says Eichhorn, who organized the event with the Santa Clara Firefighters Foundation. “We have a number of sponsors, including the City of Santa Clara. We have categories for men and women, different age groups and for the 5K and 10K runners. Only the top three finishers from each age group get medals.”
Speakers motivating the runners before the race included Fire Chief Bill Kelly, Superintendent Dr. Stanley Rose and Vice Mayor and President of the Santa Clara Schools Foundation Teresa O’Neill.
“I’m here in part as my role as the President of the Santa Clara Schools Foundation which, thanks to the Santa Clara Firefighters Foundation, is a beneficiary of this event,” O’Neill says. “We are a group of volunteers that raise money to give grants to teachers and schools in the Santa Clara Unified School District for projects and things they wouldn’t be able to otherwise afford… We buy musical instruments, we buy books, we help pay for field trips and a lot of things that make the school experience much better…I’m also here as the Vice Mayor of Santa Clara. This event is a partnership between the City of Santa Clara, the Santa Clara University and the Santa Clara Unified School District and the foundations of the firefighters and the schools.”
William Conner led the 10K group by finishing his run in 36 minutes and 8 seconds. Garrett Weaver was first to finish the 5K run in 19 minutes and 47 seconds.
“I saw the times from last year and thought I had a shot,” says Weaver, a freshman at Santa Clara University. “I ran cross country and track in high school. I run four miles every day pretty much on the loop we ran today so I was familiar with the course. I plan to ‘celebrate’ my win by studying for my finals next week.”
Nadia Lee, 11, won second place for the category of female 5K runners for ages 9-12. She finished in 26 minutes and 57 seconds.
“At Hyde Middle School, we have this thing called the lap derby where we have to run a bunch of laps in a certain amount of time,” Lee says. “This is my fourth 5K. It feels good to get a medal. I’ll probably celebrate with rainbow sorbet later.”
Organizations tabling at the Firehouse Run included the MOMS Club of Santa Clara and the American Heart Association. After the race, BJ’s Restaurant, Sara’s Kitchen, Peet’s Coffee and Whole Foods Market offered food and beverages.