For the Zierau/Haskell family, the Kyles and their dog Kona, Barbara McKay and her two toddlers, Sandie Hernbroth, Carol Brachna, the Goards and more than 1,300 others, last Sunday morning was a time for fun, exercise and community spirit before heading home for the traditional Father's Day barbecues and the often less healthy food and refreshments that go with them. Runners started signing up at 7 a.m. for the 19th annual Father's Day Spirit Run, an event hosted by the Rotary Club of Pleasanton. The event is a tradition that has continued to grow as runners, their children and families participate in either a 10K run or 5K walk or run, as well as a kids challenge.
Serious runners came from all over the Bay Area for Sunday's 10K, which is officially timed by On Your Mark Events, an event management, timing and consulting company headed by Mark and Kandee Aiton out of Arnold, Calif. Aiton uses the latest high-tech smart devices to time the races and then show on computer screens at the finish line the "bib" number and names of the racers as they complete the course. This year, new records were set, not only in the number of participants but also in the 34:26-minute 10K time it took Jeffrey Bickert of Martinez to reach the finish line under the Arch on Main Street. Eight other runners made the run in less than 40 minutes, which was a record time only a few years ago. Brandon Sepp of Hayward ran the 5K in just over 16 minutes, causing a stir when he collapsed just after crossing the finish line, but then quickly coming to his feet to acknowledge the large round of applause.
There's another reason to applaud both the runners and the downtown Rotary Club that sponsors it and where I'm a member. Since the club assumed responsibility for the Spirit Run, which dates back to the city's 1994 Centennial celebration, more than $400,000 has been raised for scholarships to deserving graduates of Pleasanton high schools who need financial help to attend college, including $30,000 awarded just last month. John Sensiba of the Bay Area accounting firm of Sensiba San Filippo LLP, a sponsor of the Father's Day Spirit Run, said early estimates show that the club's event Sunday raised about $40,000 which, after expenses, will go for scholarships in the 2012-13 school year to students at Amador Valley, Foothill and Village high schools.