On Sunday, Nov.1, over 800 people, adults and children, got up bright and early and congregated at Santa Clara University’s Buck Shaw Stadium to participate in the Santa Clara Firefighter Foundation’s inaugural Firehouse Run. Shortly after Miss Silicon Valley Melissa Bowling sang the National Anthem, runners zoomed off while walkers followed behind. With the options of a 5K walk or run, or a 10K run, the course whisked participants through El Camino Real, The Alameda, Market St., Jefferson St., Harrison St., and back onto El Camino Real.
“The Firefighters Foundation has a lot of programs. I proposed the idea of the Firehouse Run to the foundation board and they instantly approved it,” says Chris Eichhorn, firefighter and race director of the Firehouse Run. “All the money that is raised outside of paying for the costs of the event will go to the Santa Clara Schools Foundation.”
Before the run, Mayor Jamie Matthews and City Councilmember Teresa O’Neill gave introductory speeches. O’Neill, also president of the Santa Clara Schools Foundation, thanked Santa Clara University, the City of Santa Clara, and the Santa Clara Police Department. She gave extra thanks to Eichhorn for “embodying the spirit of community service.” She also recognized Santa Clara Unified School District’s public information officer Jennifer Dericco and her staff for promoting the event.
“Lastly, I want to thank you, our community, for coming out to support our schools this early morning,” O’Neill says. “Just as our students wouldn’t progress and grow without the help of their teachers and classified staff, they need the encouragement and assistance of everyone in the community. So thank you for being a symbol of that commitment to our Santa Clara schools.”
The first person to burst through the finish line was Pedro Montes. Speaking through a translator, Montes shares his exuberance.
“I found out about this race from my friends,” Montes says. “We have a group where we practice running every day. I ran the race in 18 minutes.”
Dominic McMahon and Reese Blancas placed first and second, respectively, in their age categories. Both boys are third-grade students at Washington Open Elementary School.
“I’ve done a lot of 5Ks before,” McMahon says. “I like to run with my friends. At home, I have a hanger with all my medals and that’s where I’d put my new medal.”
“I practice running with my dad,” Blancas says. “I’m going to put my medal in a hat where I keep my other medals. I will celebrate later by eating chicken and waffles.”