Kiwanis Fun Run takes a year off
They tried to make it happen.
But as more obstacles flew into their purview, such as the club's inability to find a location for the run, President Jay Puppo and fellow Kiwanis Club of Wilsonville members came to the conclusion that the 2018 Kids Fun Run would need to be cancelled.
"The stars lined up and said this isn't going to happen this year," Puppo said. "It was really difficult for us."
However, according to Puppo, the Kiwanis Club has an attractive alternative. Put on by Edge Family Fitness and in collaboration with the Kiwanis Club, the Edge Family Fitness Run will take place Sept. 9 at Sandelie Golf Course, which is on S.W. Mountain Road in West Linn. The event will include a "Kids Fun Mud Run" and a five-kilometer obstacle course race. The profits for the event will go toward the Kiwanis Club programs and club members will cook hot dogs and burgers at the event. The races will likely be free for kids and cost money for adults. Registration will begin July 5.
Edge Family Fitness owner Carlos Salazar indicated that the new event will take place beyond this year and has high aspirations for it.
"Even though this is the first year of the event, we hope to grow this event in the coming years to be a race that is recognized across the state of Oregon and people will travel to the venue," Salazar said.
The Kiwanis Fun Run for preschool to eighth-graders is typically the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Kiwanis Club — accumulating funds for Kiwanis programs such as dictionaries for Wilsonville third-graders, Wilsonville High School clubs, scholarships for Wilsonville High School students and the Doernbecher Children's Hospital Cancer program. This year would've been the 15th annual event.
The event typically takes place at Inza R. Wood Middle School, but, due to construction this year, the Kiwanis Club needed to find a new location. The club also discussed plans with the West Linn-Wilsonville School District to host the event at Wilsonville High School but scheduling complications prevented that from happening. And members talked with the City of Wilsonville about hosting the event at Memorial Park but determined that kids running on concrete walk paths would be too much of a safety liability. And the recent death of a Kiwanis Club member who helps organize the run further curtailed plans.
"The school district and city were gracious and helped us find a solution," Puppo said. "We just couldn't find anything that worked great."
Puppo is a member of Edge Family Fitness and is Salazar's business coach. Salazar was already planning to put on the Edge Family Fitness Run, but when he heard about the Kiwanis Club's struggles to find a spot for the event, he came up with the idea of the joint event.
"It was amazing," Puppo said. "Carlos approached us and said 'Hey, I believe in what you do in town and I want to raise money. Let's team up.'"
"With the Kiwanis, the reason we wanted to help them is they do really great work for the kids in Wilsonville and that's something we're super passionate about," Salazar said.
Some advantages of the Edge Family Fitness event, in Puppo's view, are that it will occur in a natural setting and unlike the Fun Run, will include a live band and a beer garden. It will also maintain some elements of the Kiwanis Fun Run such as the pavilion and activities for kids.
"They're next to a wooded area, lot of hills," Puppo said. "They'll be running in a natural setting rather than on the track."
Grant money is one complicating factor. The City of Wilsonville donated $4,000 to the Kiwanis Club this year so that it could host an event within city limits. The Edge Family Fitness Run, though, will take place outside of Wilsonville city limits. The Kiwanis Club is appealing to the Wilsonville tourism board to see if it will allow the club to use the grant money anyway.
Salazar said a registration fee for kids would likely be added if the City rescinds the grant money.
"One (point expressed to the city) is that we're just outside of city limits," Puppo said. "The second point is that we're advertising the event to the entire Portland metro area. Attracting tourism and overnight guests is more likely than the way we used to do the Fun Run."
Puppo said the new event, which materialized very recently, had six sponsors as of last week and that the Kiwanis Club will ask typical sponsors of the Fun Run to sponsor the event.
Despite the change in title and venue, Puppo hopes the Edge Family Fitness Run will equal the impact of the Fun Run.
"We're hoping to raise as much money as we've raised in the past," he said.