COSTA MESA — Local families from throughout the school district competed in the Newport-Mesa Spirit Run on March 27, despite the rain.
The event, now in its 28th year, gave every Newport-Mesa Unified school the chance to benefit for the first time and attracted 1,500 participants.
Event organizer Diane Daruty said it’s too soon to pinpoint an amount raised, but the event did make a surplus.
“We’re going to have a good amount of money to give away,” she said.
The Spirit Run was traditionally organized by the five elementary schools that feed into Corona del Mar High School — Harbor View, Andersen, Eastbluff, Newport Coast and Lincoln — but their parent-teacher associations decided not to sponsor the event this year.
It appeared the Spirit Run had run out of gas until Daruty, a Newport Beach mother and competitive runner, stepped in to create a nonprofit and board of directors to run the event.
The new leadership opened the event to all Newport-Mesa district schools and created a scholarship program for low-income students to cover race entry fees.
The event saw a significant drop in participation from the five original schools, but kids from other schools came out, Daruty said.
“We have seen a huge excitement from some of the new schools invited in,” she said.
The event has also raised a record amount from sponsors and expo participants, she said.
Spirit Run board member Andrea Crance, who came out with her family, said the event succeeded, despite the inclement weather.
“It was so fun,” Crance said. “I always enjoy it.”
Part of the fun this year was getting to see friends who don’t normally participate in the event, she said.
With the first event under their belt since the re-organization, Crance said she believes it will grow as more people learn that all schools can benefit.
“I think its participation will really increase when people realize it’s been opened up to everyone,” she said.