Halloween spirit was brought to Fullerton with the first OC Pumpkin Run that kicked off at 7:30 a.m. on Oct. 21.
The OC Pumpkin Run for Reading is an event meant to bring family, friends and the community together for a 5K run in the Fullerton trails that began near the North Justice Center. Appropriately so, the event was Halloween themed and encouraged runners and participants to dress in Halloween attire.
The goal of the event was to help local child literacy programs. To achieve this, all the proceeds received from the event will go directly to local Title I schools that are at higher risk of unsatisfactory reading skills.
The event began before the sun came out with participants socializing and stretching before the big race. Booths laid out near the trail included registration, t-shirt pick up stations and book donations. As the time for the main event came closer, runners were getting hyped up with small talk and jokes by volunteers over the amplifier.
School organizations, families and friends soon filled up the Fullerton trails with an uncompetitive and joyful mood. Many of those participating in the 5K run jogged and strolled along.
After the run, participants traveled to the cool down zone located at the recently renovated Fullerton High School Football Field. Activities such as pie eating contests, face paintings and costume contests took place alongside the track.
“To see the community come out, run and come together to help raise money for a good cause with some Halloween spirit is great,” said Annett Evans, a Fullerton resident dressed up with Halloween spirit. “This is a good way to bring everyone together.”
The event was created by a collaboration of both the Rotary Club of Fullerton and OC United.
The Rotary Club of Fullerton is an association of concerned Fullerton citizens that have a mission to better the community, the welfare of families and the future of the youth. The Fullerton club has three youth clubs that are led in either a local high school, Cal State Fullerton or a young professional club.
The Rotary Club of Fullerton has hosted an End Polio Jog-A-Thon at Fullerton High School for the past six years to support local schools and help eradicate polio in the world. The Rotary club decided to add another event before the Jog-A-Thon and collaborated with OC United to bring the first annual Pumpkin Run to Fullerton.
“We have been working on this since the beginning of last summer ever since school ended last year, so it’s been a year of planning and stress,” said Shawn Chae, president of the CSUF Rotary Club. “I’m really glad with the success of the book donations and the event’s success so far.”
OC United has recently partnered with the Rotary club to make a bigger difference with their combined strength and passion for helping the community. The nonprofit OC United is stationed in downtown Fullerton and exists to empower the vulnerable who live in under-resourced neighborhoods and may have experienced foster care, domestic abuse, and homelessness.
“One of our dreams is to expand that and have little libraries throughout the community where kids and adults can share books with each other,” said Jay Williams, Executive Director of OC United. “That’s one of our dreams that we didn’t quite get into this event, but we hope to.”
The event was a success and OC Pumpkin Run for Reading is expected to return next year.
For more information on the Fullerton Rotary Club and other events like this one please visit their website.