DOWNTOWN — Ready, set, go fund education.
The sixth annual Santa Monica 5000, scheduled for Oct. 2 and sponsored by K-Swiss and Clif Bar, has selected the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation as its nonprofit beneficiary, with race proceeds going towards the establishment of an athletic endowment.
“I feel that this particular race, the SM 5000, is a perfect community-wide event because anybody can participate,” said Linda Greenberg-Gross, executive director of the foundation. “Either way, you are helping raise funds for vital athletic programs and at the same time building spirit and cohesion through the community.”
The race includes a 5K/10K run/walk, a 2.7K dash for kids and a stroller stride for parents of new babies or toddlers. Roughly 3,000 people in total will be participating in the race, organizers said.
“From what I learned, the numbers grow. We are hoping to get about 500 people from the Santa Monica and Malibu schools,” Rachel Faulkner, program director at the foundation, said. “Anyone and everyone can run. I’m running, teachers in the schools, parents, this is a community opportunity.”
The foundation was created in 1982 and has helped ensure a promising education for students ever since. The foundation already has an academic and an arts endowment, and usually organizes about 20 programs per year.
The race is being produced by Generic Events. Michelle Linder and her husband founded Generic Events about 10 years ago.
“Event production is our main purpose. And when I say purpose, I mean events that affect local communities in positive ways,” Linder said. “Our intention is not only to get people who are athletic individuals involved but to get them together to make a difference.”
The foundation will receive a percentage of the entry fees and sponsorship revenues, which will help purchase “much needed supplies, increased technology, facility improvements, like scoreboards and fields and also professional development for all PE teachers and coaches,” Greenberg-Gross said. Those who donate also have the option of directly contributing to a chosen school or team.
The races will commence at 7:30 a.m., with various start times. The races start at Ocean Park Boulevard, near the beach, and take the runners on a scenic route, ending at the Santa Monica Pier. There will be a post-race event called the Cool Down, featuring live music, fitness demos, face painting and other activities for children. Also, all rides at Pacific Park, located on the pier, will open at 11 a.m.
The foundation is hoping to raise $25,000 from entry fees. As of Sept. 23, the foundation received a little over $22,000. By visiting their web site at runforschools.org, $15 of the entry fee is automatically split; $7.50 goes to the foundation’s athletic endowment and the other $7.50 goes to the designated team being chosen.
The foundation wants to raise $2 million for the athletic endowment.
Santa Monica High School has about 900 athletes in total and about 200 have signed up to participate, according to Tania Fischer, head track and field and cross county coach at Samohi.
Some of the top teams who have raised the most amounts of money are Samohi water polo with $2,490, Samohi boys volleyball with $1,358 and Samohi girls volleyball with $1,061.
“Santa Monica really supports its schools and this is the first time they’re supporting athletics so this is very important, Fischer said. “It is going to be a great partnership once fully established.”