Chart House/Footloose run to boost Mammoth Track Project, MHS track team
Runners are racing to support the Mammoth Track Project this Sunday at the 28th annual Chart House/Footloose 5k/10k road run. The run kicks off at 8 a.m. at the Chart House, and will conclude with a Chart House pancake breakfast, raffle and awards.
The proceeds will not only help fund the track, a passion project of sponsor High Sierra Striders four years in the making, but will also help get the newly-formed Mammoth High School track team off to a good start this coming school year.
High Sierra Striders, a non-profit organization whose mission is to support athletic and academic achievement and promote lifelong health and fitness through running, has already donated $1,366 to the growing MHS track and field team to help buy practice equipment.
“We’re looking to offer kids another way to participate, athletically,” said Striders’ Treasurer, Elaine Smith. To that end, the Striders are also granting scholarships to graduating seniors who have been runners. The Striders gave four scholarships out a year ago and one this year.
The Striders also help sponsor several events during the summer, including the Footloose Freedom Mile on July 4, and the upcoming Ultra Marathon at Mammoth Mountain on Sept. 18. All proceeds go to support the new track down by Whitmore Pool.
The kids at MHS are already getting excited about the new track. In anticipation of its arrival, “they’re starting to form groups to compete.” Last year the first ever MHS track team made a strong start: five of the six students qualified in the High Desert League Finals. MHS junior Toby Qualls went on to the Division 4 CIF Prelims, where he came in seventh with a personal best time of 9:58.30 in the 3200m.
This year the school district approved stipends for track coaches, and track coach Brian Pennington hoped that the increased support of the school, and exposure at events like the Chart House/Footloose 5k/10k, would encourage more students to participate in track this coming year.
“A lot of kids just don’t know much about track and field,” he said, “so they don’t participate.” But Pennington thinks the new track would be a great motivator: “That’d certainly get them more interested.”
Qualls is one track team member who may participate in the run Sunday. His MHS cross-country teammates will also be in attendance, helping with registration, handing out water and getting numbers at the end of the race.
Said assistant cross country coach Rob Friedl, “We’re certainly in support of the new track.”
The first three finishers in each age group in the run, and the first five finishers in the walk, will earn a winner’s mug. More importantly, Sunday’s runners will be contributing toward a greater win for the community: a track that will help inspire and train future athletes for years to come.
Race-day registration begins at 6:45 a.m.; entry forms are available online at www.highsierrastriders.org, at Footloose Sports in Mammoth Lakes or on their website at www.footloosesports.com. Entry fee is $30 with T-shirt; $25 without T-shirt. If registering on race day, add $5.
For more information, email Elaine Smith at Elaine@highsierrastriders.org, or call 760.709.2159.