“I think it’s a really good opportunity to get some exercise and raise some money for the school,” said fifth-grader Savannah Cooper.
“It’s really fun,” added Tabitha Froehlich, also in fifth grade. “We’re running just a steady pace with friends — and I think it’s fun that the firefighters are here to support us.”
The school’s Parent Faculty Organization held its first Jog-A-Thon four years ago, hoping to raise enough money to pay for a P.E. teacher for primary grade students. Last year, the event raised more than $50,000.
Principal Todd Schmidt, who has been at the school for just a few weeks, ran laps with every grade, sometimes carrying a red flag with the school’s Viking logo.
“Like it?” he said. “That’s a small word. I love this. I’ve never seen such a group of kids having so much fun. You’ve got community, firefighters, paramedics, a police officer, parents running, I see teachers running — this is fun stuff. This is the fun part of my job.”
Parent volunteers Tracy Allen and Helen MacKinnon said that 150 parent volunteers worked for months to organize the event, which they hoped would raise $40,000 to fund teachers, computers and projects.
Students collected pledges from friends and family — either a set dollar amount or a per-lap pledge — than ran by grade for 15 minutes.
“It’s so fun,” said Kate Robinson, a parent of a kindergartner and a pre-K student. “This is our first Jog-A-Thon. They love it. I was surprised they would run this long. They keep going and going and going.”
“This is awesome,” said Newport Beach Police Officer Vlad Anderson as he clapped and cheered for runners. “They’re so happy to see us.”
Thomas Kurtz, 7, said he motivated himself by thinking positive thoughts while running.
“I thought, ‘I want to win, I don’t want to give up, I’ll try my best,’” he said during a water break.
Since Harbor View’s first Jog-A-Thon, other local elementary schools have been inspired and held their own jogging fundraisers, Allen said. The event also makes money from sponsors and already has met nearly half its goal this year, she said.