Put Your Best Foot Forward to Support School and Community Running Programs at the Golden Valley Harriers Labor Day Races (9/3/12)
Each Labor Day, hundreds of people from the region—and the world— unite for the Golden Valley Harriers Labor Day Races, a major fundraiser for school and community running programs. All are warmly welcomed to continue the tradition at the 17th annual running of this fun community event on September 3rd at 8 AM. It includes a 5k, 10k and 1k kids' run, starting at the Davis Commons (1st & D Streets, Davis, CA).
Organized by the Golden Valley Harriers (GVH), a non-profit, Davis-based running club, the Labor Day Races serve GVH's mission to "support running in the community." In 2011, the Labor Day Races raised over $12,000. This year, organizers hope to contribute even more to beneficiaries: the Davis High School, Dixon High School and Woodland High School Cross Country teams, and the Team Davis Local Support Fund. It's also a cultural exchange with Davis’ sister city, Inuyama, Japan. Several runners from Inuyama travel to participate and tour the area, and Taiko drummers start the races with a bang.
GVH members, who come from Yolo County and the wider Sacramento area, volunteer to put on the race. They relish the opportunity to give back the community and spend the weekend with fellow Japanese runners. Race Director, John Burmester, says, "Our club really looks forward to bringing people together for a fun time that celebrates healthy lifestyles, fosters inter-cultural understanding and benefits a great cause. We hope for a great turnout to maximize our grants for local youth running programs."
For school beneficiaries, who face ever tightening budgets, the race's financial support is critical. Dixon High Cross Country's Sheri Luney says, "Our district has been very close to cutting sports the past few years because the district doesn’t fund sports programs. Each program has to rely on fundraising. We've been very grateful for donations from the Labor Day Race, which helped us buy uniforms, cover entrance fees and transportation for invitational races, and purchase needed medical supplies. Last year, the invitational races are what prepared our team to make it to state—for the first time in 15 years."
Woodland High School Cross Country coach Chuck Bruns adds, "GVH has always been very generous with their financial award so this is a very important event for us. The funds cover travel to the Mt. Sac Cross Country Invitational, a stipend toward an assistant coach, school bus service to meets and entry fees. The [Mt. Sac] trip is quite expensive. Many of our athletes live on limited finances and struggle to pay their share. By helping at the Labor Day Races, kids and their family members earn credit toward payment of the trip, which can make a big impact on the cost for them."
For the Team Davis Local Support Fund, a voluntary organization working to enrich the lives of children and adults with developmental, cognitive and/or physical disabilities, the race has a unique meaning. Board member, Kelly McDonald, explains, "We rely entirely on donations, and the Labor Day Race has been one of our top donors since our inception. Additionally, it supports our mission to integrate participants into the community through athletics, art and social events. The race not only provides money to buy running shoes and athletic attire, and defray the cost of race entries, but offers a fun way for our athletes and volunteers to participate in a local community activity."
All registrants receive a beautifully designed tech t-shirt with the Japanese character for run, created by renowned Japanese calligrapher. Whole Foods Market will provide a healthful post-race breakfast for participants, offering a delicious taste of what the store will bring to Davis when it opens this fall. Participants are also invited to bring old shoes of all kinds for donation to the Short Term Emergency Aid Committee.
The Golden Valley Harriers extend special thanks to sponsors, whose generosity helps maximize benefits for beneficiaries: PG&E, Whole Foods Market, Davis Commons, B. J. Runquist Orthodontics, Pet Emergency Center, Rancho Yolo, Steven Lynch Dentistry, and Union Bank.
For more information, and to sign up, visit goldenvalleyharriers.org.