More than 1,800 people pounded the pavement around Newport Beach’s Fashion Island on Sunday for the 34th annual Newport-Mesa Spirit Run.
This year’s event included seven adult races and eight youth races of varying distances. An accompanying Youth & Fitness Expo offered food, music and activities for adults and children.
“It was the best event by far,” said Diane Daruty, president and race director of Newport-Mesa Spirit Run Inc.
Net proceeds from the festivities will benefit education and athletics in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District. This year’s Spirit Run included a new Dash for Cash fundraiser in which schools outside the district could earn commissions from registration fees paid by supporters.
Five schools participated in the inaugural edition of the fundraiser, Daruty said Monday.
As of Monday, the total amount raised was still being tallied, she said, adding that 1,800 to 1,900 people participated this year.
That doesn’t include pets that strutted their stuff during the Dog Mile — a new feature in which participants could run or walk alongside their canine companions.
Particularly exciting, Daruty said, was seeing so many young people lace up their sneakers. She estimated that 1,500 children participated in the various events.
“It’s about celebrating runners of every age,” she said of the Spirit Run. “We’re celebrating them by giving them the best races we can, constantly adding to it and making it as fun as we can.”
For more information or to see race results, visit nmspiritrun.org.