Originally published Oct. 26, 2017 in the Reno Gazette-Journal

School budgets for physical education have steadily dwindled over the years even though research shows that exercise improves behavior, brain function, and the ability to pay attention. All things that potentially support cognitive learning in the classroom.

The 12th Annual Run for Education aims to raise $200,000 this month to support student fitness and academics. It’s a fun and family-friendly event organized by the Education Alliance of Washoe County with the support of educators, community leaders and sponsors like Scheels, UNR, and Yamana Gold, and numerous other partners.


Photo courtesy of Outlet at Legends

The event took place on Sunday, Oct. 22 in front of Scheels at the Outlets at Legends. The Run for Education hosts a competitive 5k & 10k and a ½ mile Fun Run. They also host a march around the Sparks Marina as well as an untimed walk/run for those who just want to get active at the event.

Michael Connors, Race Director since 2013, expressed gratitude for being able to hold the immense event at Outlets at Legends.

“Legends does a lot for this event. They’re so wonderful and supportive and generous. They make it possible.”

This is the largest fundraiser for WCSD for the year. Approximately 4,000 runners are expected this year, most are students from over 90 schools in the district. More than 8,000 will be in attendance to cheer them on.

All sponsorship proceeds go right back to schools and students in the Washoe County School District. To date, Run for Education has raised more than $1.7 million through registrations and sponsorships.

“Without this event, schools wouldn’t receive things vital to their education,” says Michael Connors, also an English teacher at North Valleys High School.

Speaking from firsthand experience, he says that students can tell when they don’t have what is needed. “It tells them we don’t value those things.”


Photo courtesy of Outlets at Legends.

Specifically, the Run for Education funds Kids In Motion, which issues grants to elementary schools that had at least 20 students participating in the run. Schools are then able to choose how to best support physical fitness in their context. Sometimes this means soccer goals or even just balls for recess. Last year, 52 schools received grants to fund their physical education programs.

The Run for Education also funds the Passport Program, which helps students secondary and post-secondary close gaps in their academics by covering fees for things like dual credit programs, summer school, and AP credits.

In addition to the running events, the Fitness Fair featured a fun time for families to enjoy fit-friendly activities. Children and adults enjoyed climbing, archery, gymnastics, and golf, getting a hands-on experience at each activity station. Kids also tesedt their skills at a bike rodeo, and basketball and soccer booths.

The Education Alliance is the non-profit arm of the Washoe County School District.

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