Students back 5K effort | ParkRecord.com

Students back 5K effort

Matthew Piper, OF THE RECORD STAFF

The Winter Sports School’s student government doesn’t spend its days planning the location and stylings of homecoming, cotillion and prom. These kids mean business.

The third annual WSS 5K Fun Run bore the fruits of their labors at Willow Creek Park on Saturday morning, raising money for the school’s scholarship fund and world hunger while promoting the value of community in Summit County.

All of the school’s students – many of them elite winter athletes who are at the halfway point of their academic calendar – chipped in for the effort, from folding T-shirts to promoting the event on Facebook and Twitter.

"We never really do much as a school, and this year we’re focusing on doing a lot more," said student-body president Elodie Tomlinson, a senior who spends her winter months competing in snowboardcross races. "We redid our whole school, we painted the whole thing, we planted a garden, and we’re doing our third annual hunger 5K. It’s a great way for everybody to get together."

Founded by the student council in 2008, the 5K raised money for the United Nations’ World Food Program in years one and two. The students kept that mission alive this year, but proceeds also bolstered a WSS scholarship fund that doled out $80,000 to 22 students in 2009.

"This is the kids’ thing," said the school’s head, Rob Clayton. "It’s grown out of their idea. This is our third year doing it, and they’ve done a really nice job of it.

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"We had to move a bunch of stuff down to here from the school earlier this morning, seven o’clock in the morning, (and) they’re all there ready to go. It was like overkill actually."

Since the WSS doesn’t have a large enough student body to host its own school-wide events, the 5K ranks as one of the top projects on the student government’s agenda, which also includes car washes and bake sales.

"For things like prom, we just ride the coattails of the public school," said Dave Kaufman, teacher, director of admissions and dean of students. "We don’t really have the authority to organize it or make decisions about where it will be. The ownership for our students really resides in events like this."

Clayton said Director of Development Julie Bernhard made the event "grander" this year with the addition of a fair, but her involvement didn’t keep the students from getting their hands dirty.

"I’ve seen everyone that I know here," said senior Annalise Manley, a freeride skier. "I can’t think of anyone missing. It’s a lot of people."

The fair brought Salt Lake radio station B98.7 and tents featuring food, prizes and beer. There was also a costume race, hula-hoop competition, zumba class, food, music, prizes, face painting, health screenings, and an appearance from the Nu Skin Jazz Dancers.

Lisa Needham, the owner and manager of Park City Yoga Studios, got the runners ready with a pre-5K stretch before setting out on the course.

Fernando Ramirez, a 2003 Park City High School graduate, won the race in a little more than 18 minutes. "It was nice and flat," Ramirez said. "I was just excited it wasn’t sunny or too hot, because the race started a little late.

"I tried to keep it moderate, not too crazy. In the afternoon I have to run another 13 miles."

Ramirez said his focus now is to qualify in the marathon at the Olympic trials in 2012, and gave a plug to his dogsled touring company at lunalobos.com.

Visit http://www.wintersportsschool.org for more information on the Winter Sports School.