A local nonprofit group will give the South County a run for its money on Saturday, with its 18th annual Fun Run fundraiser, which helps provide scholarships to children throughout the Five Cities and Nipomo area.
The fun run will be held at Nipomo Regional Park and will feature a 4-mile run, 2-mile walk and half-mile kids run, said Mary Squellati, who is organizing the event for a private nonprofit group, the South County Youth Coalition.
The annual fun run was created by Nipomo High School counselor Joe Hubble in 1998, as an effort to get local children involved in sports, specifically running, Squellati said. Since then, the run has gone on to become one of the South County Youth Coalition’s largest fundraising events.
Funds go to the coalition and the Nipomo recreation department to help provide scholarships to South County children so they can participate in “enrichment” — or extra-curricular — activities such as sports, drama, band and other after-school programs. The coalition also offers parenting classes through the Oceano and Nipomo Family Resources centers.
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Last year, the fun run raised more than $8,000 for the coalition. This year, the group hopes to raise $10,000, though as of Tuesday, it had raised approximately $8,000.
“This year we have more than 25 sponsors, and some of them have been extremely generous,” she said, noting that most of the money raised comes from local companies sponsoring the event. Companies pay at least $100 to have their name and logos appear on T-shirts given out at the fun run, though some companies donate more.
“It’s a wonderful event, and those sponsors all know that they money goes to helping those local children that can’t afford enrichment activities,” she said.
The fun run also gets a lot of help from local volunteers, Squellati said, including the Nipomo High School cross country team and Key Club, Nipomo Kiwanis club members and high school students in need of community service hours.
Squellati said this year’s event will also feature a T-shirt design from Dorothea Lange Elementary School fifth-grader Karina Logue, 9, who won a design competition through her Bright Futures after-school program.
“It’s a wonderful design of a little girl running through the forest,” Squellati said. “It’s adorable.”
The event is open to participants of all ages — this year, Squellati said participants can expect to see the Mesa Middle School track team running in the 4-mile event alongside adult runners.
“I haven’t ever participated in it, because I’m always organizing it,” Squellati said with a laugh, “but I always say that when I retire, I’m going to run that 4 miles.”
If you go
The 18th annual South County Youth Coalition and Nipomo Recreation Association Fun Run will be held Saturday at the Nipomo Community Park softball field. Registration and check-in will be held from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., with a raffle at 8:30 a.m. The run, walk and kids runs begin at 9 a.m. Registration is $20 for the 4-mile run and 2-mile walk, and $10 for the kid’s half-mile run.