A herd of almost 800 runners, including dogs and babies, raced to the finish in the ninth annual Celebrate Schools 5K for the Foundation for the Edmonds School District. They gathered outside of the Loews Theater at Alderwood Mall on Saturday morning and took off on their journey at 8 a.m.
The Foundation puts on the 5K to gather the community and help fundraise to give money back to schools in the Edmonds School District (ESD). Schools get to keep all of the money earned from pledges, while the net proceeds are distributed amongst schools accordingly.
Upon registering, a participant chooses a school for which they are participating. If a certain school surpasses 20 participants to their name, then half of the proceeds from the event will be granted to that school for them to spend as they would like, so long as it benefits education.
Other funds earned from the event are used to provide grants, stipends and supplies for students and families in need.
Unlike years past, there was not a 1K Children’s Fun Run to go along with the 5K.
Various booths filled the area, such as Whole Foods providing snacks and representatives from Edmonds Community College, Experience Momentum and more. Runners filled the area, wearing their yellow 5K shirts and many of them wearing their green ones from last year’s run.
Out of the 798 registered runners, Peter Hanson clocked in at 18:07 as the fastest male participant out of the 327 who were present. A couple minutes later, Laura Hunter crossed the finish line at 21:27, earning the spot as the fastest female participant out of the 469 of them.
Foundation for the Edmonds School District Executive Director Deborah Anderson calls the 5K a “tremendous gathering event.” Along with community members of the ESD, the members of the Northwest Junior Pipe Band made an appearance and performed four pieces for the crowd, featuring flashy twirls of their drumsticks.
After runners began to return back to the start, the four drumlines of the ESD prepared for their Battle of the Drumlines.
MTHS began the spectacle, giving a powerful performance despite only being comprised of four people. Freshman bass drummer Natalie Song feels there are teamwork advantages that come from having a handful of members.
“It’s really nice because I feel like we can really depend on each other since we’re a smaller group and that sometimes you can sound really tight together that way,” Song said.
Following the performance by MTHS, Edmonds-Woodway High School, Meadowdale High School and Lynnwood High School (LHS) showed off their drumlines.
“It was fun and it was a great experience to see and hear other drumlines play,” Song said.
While these four high schools all work with ESD percussion instructor Andrew Angell, Song didn’t feel a sense of competition and viewed the drumlines as a fun performance. To Angell, the Battle of the Drumlines was about the hard work of the students. He has worked with MTHS since last year, but is mainly focusing on MTHS and LHS this year.
“I came out to see all the students play because I knew they were gonna do great and they did, and it was fun to see all of their work pay off,” Angell said. “I think it’s a great event. I think it’s fantastic that so much of the community came out to support the school district and came out to support the drumlines.”
He felt “really proud of all the students that participated today” but didn’t fail to mention that he loves the many dogs around the area.
After the drumlines cleared out, ESD superintendent Kris McDuffy, who is also a member of the Foundation, made an appearance to give thanks to the community for supporting the cause.
“I’m so proud of the involvement of our students and families and community members and it’s all for an excellent cause to go back to support programs and students we serve,” she said.
To McDuffy, the meaning of the annual 5K extends beyond being just a fundraiser.
“I think in addition to raising money for our schools, I think it just builds community also and pride in our school system and brings families together,” McDuffy said. “It’s a really wonderful event.”
Shortly after runners reenergized with snacks and the drumlines unequipped their instruments, the results of the 5K were announced. For highest participants from a school, Brier Terrace Middle School took third with 92 people and Sherwood Elementary School came in second with 99 participants.
For the fifth consecutive year, Lynndale Elementary School won the first place trophy for having the most participants, coming in at 241 people. Lynndale office manager Diane Grossenbacher finds their winning streak to be remarkable considering they’re one of the smallest schools in the ESD. In the end, it’s “a huge gathering spot for our families” and is not about the trophy, she said.