“I’m very excited,” said organizer Diane Daruty. “There are some really fast runners, some real elite athletes.”
Harbor View Elementary School student Joshua Means said he concentrated during his entire 5K run on beating his time from last year. He did, by about a minute and a half.
“I felt good,” he said after the race.
The school’s principal, Todd Schmidt, said he had challenged students to beat his 5K time — 27.5 minutes.
“A lot of them took that challenge,” he said. “I’m going to be buying a lot of pizza.”
The Spirit Run began in 1983 as a fundraiser for the five elementary schools that feed into Corona del Mar High School. But schools saw dwindling returns despite hundreds of volunteer hours, leading all but Eastbluff Elementary School to decide to drop out in 2010. Daruty stepped in and revitalized the run, expanding it to raise money for all Newport-Mesa Unified School District schools. In the past two years, the event has contributed more than $100,000 to the district, according to the event’s website.
This year’s Spirit Run was part of a new Newport Beach Road Racing Series for adults and children that also includes the Spirit Run and Corona del Mar Scenic 5K for adults, and the same events plus the Newport Beach Track Meet for youth participants. The track meet will take place April 5, and the Scenic 5K will take place June 1.
The Newport Beach Recreation and Senior Services director, Laura Detweiler, said she’s attended the Spirit Run for five years and this year was running for the first time.
“This year, I’m focused on fitness,” she said. “But I’ve always liked to support this event.”