VIDEO: 5K Run Raises Funds for MDUSD School Sports

Around 1,350 members of the community showed up to Newhall Park Sunday morning.

Updated at 7:13 p.m.

The third annual Save Our Sports 5K Walk and Run was packed with enthusiasm for raising money for interscholastic athletics, but at the same time it must overcome decreasing attendance and perhaps complacency.

The race was an effort by the United Mt. Diablo Athletic Foundation to use funds raised from the registration of about 1,350 participants to benefit the six MDUSD high school's athletic programs.

The event was one of multiple ways the foundation is attempting to raise the $1.2 million needed to keep the district's six schools' athletic programs running this school year, said event co-chair and Clayton Valley High School athletic director, Pat Middendorf.

In speaking of the challenges of raising funds for the foundation, Middendorf noted a continual decrease in the 5k's attendance over the three years:

"The community saw us be so successful raising the money for sports that they, maybe, became a little complacent and didn't see the urge to get out and help," she said.

"We'll certainly end up with a lot of generous people out here, but just not as many (as previous years)," said Middendorf.

In its first year, 2,200 runners helped the event raise $100,000, said Middendorf.

"... which was amazing," she added.

In the second year, she said, 1,500 participants helped raise $70,000.

This year, however, the number of participants decreased to an estimated 1,350 registered runners and walkers, according to preliminary numbers available Sunday morning.

In addition to the 5k run and walk, the foundation and sports programs have hosted other fund raisers; raised cost of game attendance; collect fees from athletes; collect donations and run a tight budget, said Middendorf.

"If the community steps up and help us, we'll make it happen," she said..

"But we need everyone to realize it's not just on the backs of a few volunteers - it's really the whole community and all of the cities and high school communities that need to help."

Nathanael Litwiller, a Clayton Valley High School alumnus and current Sacramento State University track and field runner, came home this weekend to take first place in the race.

Take a peek at the above video to see what the event was like, what Litwiller had to say and to hear from Steven Lawrence, Mt. Diablo Unified's superintendent, and Laura Hoffmeister, the mayor of Concord.

Tell us in the comments: Are you a parent or athlete who has had to pay-to-play? How has the lack of funding for school sports impacted you?


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