The Benicia Education Foundation’s first footrace event started on a sunny day in April 2008, at the bottom of First Street. As a fan of 10K races, I was happy the BEF provided a venue with a great route right here in town, giving runners and walkers a chance to compete against fellow Benicians and out-of-town athletes who travel here for the event. For those who may not know, the Benicia Education Foundation is a local nonprofit organization that supports programs for Benicia Unified schools. The BEF is busy gearing up for the 3rd Annual Run for Education on March 21, which has become their biggest fundraiser. They will use the proceeds to fund library and technology programs.
In the ’08 race I ran the 10K, a not-too-difficult 6.2-mile course through downtown. BUSD Superintendent Janice Adams, a two-time marathon runner herself, was one of many volunteers directing racers and cheering them on. Happily, Janice was stationed just a few blocks from the finish line – I was tired and the sight of her friendly face perked me up. As president of the school board at the time, I was happy to run amongst many of Benicia’s teachers; and Trustee Dana Dean showed support by participating in the 5K race. An injury kept me from the 2009 event; but participants included members of the Benicia City Council, City staffers, local artists and musicians, young children, middle and high school track stars, and beginner and seasoned athletes from Benicia and around the Bay Area.
The course for the footrace was originally designed as the Run through History by On Your Mark Events back in October 2004, showcasing Benicia’s historical highlights. Back then I thought a third place finish for a medal in my age bracket in the 10K race was possible, but I came in … 4th. In the ’08 10K race, I was hoping a 3rd place medal might still be doable. After all, how many 40-something women runners could there BE in Benicia? And, I had Janice Adams cheering me on. But I finished…4th.
It takes a lot of work by volunteers, Benicia Police and City staff to produce the fun run. Volunteers handle all the pre-race organization and setup, get people registered, man the water stations, direct runners/walkers, and conduct the post-race celebrations. The events are the 10K run, the 5K walk/run, and the 1 mile fun run for kids 14 and under. The 10K course begins at First and B Streets near the waterfront and continues up First Street, then east on K Street, L Street and Military East, up the short hill to the Clocktower, around the newly renovated Commanding Officer’s Quarters, then west on Military all the way to the 9th Street Park and then back downtown via West I Street. The finish line is at First & B Streets and the pre- and post-race celebrations are on the Green. An awards ceremony is held after the race.
The event will take place rain or shine. This time around my goal is just to have fun. In light of impending budget cuts to education funding, BEF’s goal is to have a great turnout with lots of participation and raise funds for Benicia’s youth. Festivities include music, games for kids, food, and raffle drawings. Discounted preregistration is available and strongly encouraged. If you preregister you can pick up your t-shirt in advance, which is convenient for those who want to wear the t-shirts during the race. If you have to wait until race day, registration begins at 7am, with events starting at 8:30am and 10am. All proceeds benefit the Benicia Education Foundation. There’s a big raffle prize this year ― registered participants will be entered to win two round-trip tickets on Continental Airlines. Local merchants are also offering post-race perks. For more information or details about the race, visit www.BeniciaRunForEducation.org. It’s a fun event and a great way to get some exercise and show community pride and spirit. Join me and hundreds of your neighbors, friends and civic leaders in supporting the BEF’s efforts to enhance the quality of our children’s education.