Tania Price said she has seen superheroes, princesses, Pokémon and even Jason Voorhees enter the annual Sky Valley Classic.
The Monroe Family YMCA development and corporate relations director said they are among the hundreds of racers that traditionally turn out to complete the routes. The 1 mile, 5K and 10K Fun Run fundraiser has coupled grit with creativity for the past eight years, and is set to do it again on Saturday, Oct. 28.
“It also shows the resilience of people in the Puget Sound, because rain or shine they put their costume on and come out,” she said.
The event was started about nine years ago, in the fall of the one-year anniversary of the Moscow branch’s grand opening. It is one of the most significant fundraisers for providing financial assistance and scholarships for youth programming, Price said.
Youth development is one of the three pillars of the national YMCA nonprofit, as well as healthy living and social responsibility. This year in Monroe 150 free multi-week swim lessons were given out, kids were fed and field trips were hosted through the My Achievers Program, Price said.
The after-school activities are aimed at eliminating the achievement gap that is due to racial or ethnic barriers, immigration status and socio-economic factors, according to the YMCA of Snohomish County. About 600 kids throughout the county are served through the program annually.
All of the money raised through the Sky Valley Classic stays in Monroe, Price said. The event is also an opportunity for families to participate in a healthy activity together. People with all kinds of abilities or skill levels are encouraged to join. She has seen racers who have never entered a fun run before come out and race.
The date is usually set on or around Halloween each year, Price said. She said she does encourage people to be somewhat strategic about their costume choice, as the weather is not always ideal.
Children between the ages of six and 15 years old will pay the equivalent to their age to enter, said Price, to make the run more affordable. Kids under 6 years old will pay $6 each to cover the cost of a T-shirt.
The sliding scale makes it easier for even a family of four to participate, Price said. Everybody who pays will get a shirt as long as they do it before Oct. 1.
Price said throughout the years the fun run has been held at Lake Tye Park and staged in Al Borlin Park. About four years ago the route was moved again to traverse the historic downtown corridor, she said.
Price said going through Al Borlin made it hard for people in wheelchairs or parents with their kids in strollers to participate in races other than the 1-mile run, and flooding would force last-minute route changes, she said.
Aside from limiting logistics, Price said she wanted the race to go through downtown to highlight the local businesses. She said she envisions people coming out to run or cheer friends and family on, and then head inside for a cup of coffee while they wait for the racers to finish.
Price said she hopes people will also turn out or stick around to provide supper. Each year she makes sure some of the crowd stays on the sidelines to applaud the last few people who cross the finish line.
Every year a Monroe High School student sings the National Anthem and local Boy Scouts of America troops lead the Pledge of Allegiance, Price said. Either the high school cheerleaders, band or dance team is asked to provide entertainment. She said it is a community event as well as a fundraiser.
“We like to keep it local,” she said.
To register for the races, visit raceroster.com. The entry fee is $25 for people 16 years and older who sign up by Sept. 30, and $35 after.
Anyone who enters before the early deadline is also entered to win a pair of Run 26 running shoes, Price said. Everyone who enters will be automatically placed in a raffle to win prizes.Photos courtesy of YMCA
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