Over 130 Santa Clara runners, most of which were families, arrived bright and early at Central Park for the first ever Run Santa Clara 5K on April 30.
Organized by the City of Santa Clara’s Youth Commission, the untimed fun run brought together walkers and runners to support the commission’s scholarship program.
“We’ve actually been wanting to do a run for quite some time now,” said commissioner and Wilcox High School senior Alyssa Riley. “This year the Youth Commission has been really focusing on going towards an environmentally friendly cause and getting the community involved in exercise and drinking more water and things like that.”
The course, four-and-a-half laps around the park, allowed participants to run as many or few laps as they chose, but incentivized each trip by giving all registrants a raffle ticket, which could be filled out and dropped into buckets for prizes like a discount at Camp Galileo, gift certificate to Poké Poké and a Pier 39 package.
Santa Claran Jinwen Zou ran with his son Wenjie, 9.
“We live nearby and sometimes I run here, so [I thought] why not,” he said. “It’s very good weather.”
Zou said he and his son occasionally hike on weekends and participated in their first run at Stanford University last year.
“It went well,” he said. “I just keep encouraging him. I think we’re going to do more and I think [Central Park] is a very good spot, convenient spot as well.”
Santa Clara Assistant Police Chief Dan Winter ran with his 14-year-old daughter, Sarah, a student at Buchser Middle School.
“My son, Ryan, is actually on the Youth Commission,” he said. “They’re the ones who benefit. It benefits their scholarship committee so we wanted to come out and show support for the Youth Commission and, at the same time, get a little exercise in.”
Winter said the pair have participated in couple runs together and have a bit of a father-daughter battle to see who will finish first.
“At some point she will probably pass me,” he said with a smile.
After matching strides at the beginning of the race, Sarah pulled ahead and ran 5K slightly ahead of her father, choosing to slow her pace near the end so they could cross the finish line together.
As one of the more economical organized running events, Run Santa Clara charged a modest $5 entry fee for children under 13, while admission for adults was only $15.
“The goal that the Youth Commission set out was to truly make it as accessible to as many people as possible,” said Teen Center Recreation Coordinator Jon Kawada. “We wanted to have a kind of low barrier to entry that would hopefully encourage people to participate … It’s great to see all the families running. That was kind of what the youth commissioners were striving for. I think it was a good first year to get it off the ground. They’ve been trying for a long time.”