Park City Education Foundation’s much-loved fundraiser Running With Ed is back
COVID concerns canceled 2020’s event
Running With Ed is on.
After the Park City Education Foundation canceled its annual relay-race fundraiser last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the nonprofit is bringing it back this spring with some new guidelines.
Jennifer Billow, the nonprofit’s associate director of communications and development, said the changes are aimed at ensuring the safety of participants. The event is scheduled on May 22.
“Typically there is this giant start and finish at the Basin Recreation Fieldhouse with 1,500 runners and volunteers, but we knew we couldn’t do that with the current situation,” Billow said. “So, we will set up staggered starts at each of the Park City District schools. We felt that was appropriate, because Running with Ed is about raising money for our schools, teachers and students.”
There will be four start times at six different schools — Jeremy Ranch Elementary, Ecker Hill Middle School, Parley’s Park Elementary, McPolin Elementary, Treasure Mountain Junior High School and Trailside Elementary, according to Billow.
“When you register, or when a team captain registers their team on our website, they can choose the starting time and school,” she said. “That way people can choose the school their kids are going to and things like that. We can’t guarantee teams will get all the start times and schools they want, but we’ll do our best to accommodate them.”
Park City High School will not be involved as a start and finish or an exchange station, but one of the new legs this year will run through Dozier Field, Billow said.
“This year’s race is 21 miles for 2021 and it will be in six legs, instead of 10, which is a lot shorter than normal,” she said. “The route will still run a circle around the schools and iconic areas in Park City, but we aren’t going to go through Park City Mountain Resort or the Utah Olympic Park.”
Participants will be required to wear face coverings, and hand sanitizer stations will be set up at the starting and finishing points, Billow said.
“The start lines and transition areas will also be separated,” she said. “We just want people to feel very safe and comfortable. You can run with your family, bubble or pod.”
In addition to the condensed route, this year’s race also features some short legs for those who are casual runners, Billow said.
The route between Jeremy Ranch Elementary and Ecker Hill Middle School is less than 2 miles, and another leg from McPolin Elementary to Treasure Mountain Junior High School is 1.22 miles, she said,
“We want everyone to participate, even people who don’t think they can run very far,” she said. “Also, if you’re not a runner, you can still donate to a team or through our website.”
This year’s goal of raising $250,000 is no different than past Running With Ed goals, Billow said.
“That money funds programs that our teachers and students need,” she said. “Although we weren’t able to raise that last year, we’re back on track to do it this year.”
In addition to raising funds for the schools, runners, as they have from the inaugural event 12 years ago, are encouraged to run in costumes.
“That’s been our tradition from the beginning,” she said. “We are always looking forward to what people will wear.”
Jana Tullis, a second-grade teacher at McPolin Elementary who has participated each year with her husband Andy, enjoys dressing up for the run.
“Every year our school has a theme, and our teachers dress up accordingly,” Tullis said. “We don’t divulge our theme until the day of, but in the past we’ve dressed up as pinatas, and one year we did an ’80s prom theme where the guys wore tuxedos and the girls ran in prom dresses.”
Tullis would still run even if she wasn’t a Park City School District teacher.
“I would still want to support the schools and our community,” she said. “Every year I send an email out to friends and family asking for donations. The Park City Education Foundation does so much to help the students, teachers, staff, schools, so I feel like this is the least I can do to make a difference for our kids.”
Billow is grateful Running Ed is back this year.
“It was sad that we had to cancel last year, and it felt like there was an empty void,” she said. “So, it means a lot to have it back. I feel that our schools make up the heartbeat of the community, and for me, personally, I love the joy of bringing our community together to celebrate public education.”
When: Saturday, May 22
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Students and staff members at Parley’s Park and Trailside elementary schools will be required to wear masks through at least Nov. 29 due to the schools exceeding a threshold for COVID-19 case counts.