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Running With Ed raises money, heart rates and spirits with pre-COVID-level participation

At Trailside Elementary School, runners and supporters at the Running With Ed fundraiser enjoyed live music.
Ben Lasseter
At Trailside Elementary School, runners and supporters at the Running With Ed fundraiser enjoyed live music.

Locals and visitors swarmed Park City roads and trails in support of local students Saturday.

It was a party at Trailside Elementary School, where runners were greeted with live jazz for Running With Ed. Atmospheres were also upbeat at all the racer exchange sites, including five other Park City schools, Utah Olympic Park and Basin Recreation Fieldhouse. Along with music, runners and supporters enjoyed snacks, drinks and boisterous crowds on the chilly, sunny morning and into the afternoon.

Teams covered the 26.4-mile route in eight legs, while some individual runners did the course on their own. Organizers said with 1,200 runners, turnout exceeded expectations and suggested the fundraiser had returned to its pre-pandemic popularity.

“Nearly 200 people registered like in the last three or four days before the race, which is so Park City, it makes me laugh,” said Jen Billow, Park City Education Foundation associate director. “But we were so happy and surprised and grateful to have so many people out there. It was wonderful.”

Among those runners, people wore costumes and colorful accessories from pink tutus to blue wigs to an inflatable shark suit. The Cutties team costume, complete with hockey pads, jerseys, helmets and sticks, took first-place costume honors.

Parley’s Park Elementary was deemed the top exchange site. Billow said voting was closer than ever in that category and thanked volunteers and parent-teacher groups for their efforts.

Through race day, the foundation raised over $326,000. That money goes directly to Park City School District programs like preschool, after-school programs, PC CAPS, Bright Futures, Latinos In Action, even robotics.

“It's taking what is a really good education, amazing educators, great teachers in every classroom,” Billow said, “and bringing it to that next level and knowing that your donations are doing that for our students. Huge shoutout to our community for supporting this race and raising that kind of money.”

Fundraising will remain open for another week.

To donate, or to learn more, visit runningwithed.com.