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October 7, 2009 > Happy Fish Run promotes sports fund

Happy Fish Run promotes sports fund

By Ritu Jha
Photos By courtesy of Scott Schroder

Lara York, Fremont School Board member, says that it's really fun to participate in the annual Happy Fish Run 4 Education event that takes place on Sunday, October 11 at Lake Elizabeth.

York has been participating in the 5 k run for the past five years. "It's a very family-oriented event. I see it grow every year. They are so professional with time and it's really good."

Happy Fish Run 4 Education is the primary, annual fundraiser for the Guy Emanuele Sports Fund. The money goes to support scholarships for needy high school students and to support school-sponsored sports programs.

The events have raised about $60,000 over the last four years. The funds are raised in coordination with the Fremont Education Foundation, a non-profit that supports the Guy Emanuele Sports Fund.

"We already have $16,000 and we are expecting to raise $20,000 from this one-day event," said Liz Elliott, owner of the Happy Fish Swim School in Fremont and the organizer of the event.

The daylong event attracts participants from ages 4 to 94. Most of the runners are from the Fremont Unified Elementary Schools as well as parents and local area residents.

"We have participants from Palo Alto to Walnut Creek," said Elliott.

The event has been divided into various categories. Children ages 4 to 6 will participate in a quarter- mile run and children 7 to 12 years will participate in a half- mile run.

"That is the best part of the day, when all kids run. It's adorable," said Elliott. "We have moms and dads participating in the 5k and 10K walk/ run."

Elliott said this year she is expecting 500 people to participate in the event. "Initially we started with 250 and in the past five years it has doubled in size," said Elliott. "I think the kids' run has gotten bigger and that's where we see the most growth."

Runners can pre-register online at or Packet pick-up and race day registration begins at 7:30 a.m. As of October 1, the fee is $25 for children and $35 for the 5K and 10 K. All participants will be given a T-shirt and a goodie bag.

Everyone gets a ribbon for finishing and the top three in both the boys' and girls' categories will get a medal in first, second and third place. The other attraction of the event is a Family Fitness Expo, with various booths and refreshments.

Elliott who grew up in Fremont and was a teacher at the Fremont school, said playing sports and being involved with sports taught her how to manage time, how to be social with people and many other skills.

"Being involved in sports has been every important to us," says Elliott.

She states that schools do not have a lot of money to support all of the programs they want to have. "Through this annual event I can give back to the community and be involved in sports," says Elliott.

The Guy Emanuele Sports Fund was founded in 2003. Guy Emanuele was a former school board member in Fremont and it was his vision to ensure that students are not left out of after school sports because of economic hardship.

The foundation provides $200 scholarships per student in high school for those who wish to participate in sports, but could not without financial help. In 2008-09, it provided over $8,000 in individual scholarships to Fremont Unified School District athletes.

"It's the program that keeps growing," says David Bonaccorsi, Vice President of the Fremont Education Foundation. "Happy Fish has helped this program to prosper."

The foundation also helped junior high sports teams with grants for uniforms, referee fees, and equipment costs. This school year the Guy Emanuele Sports Fund provided a $10,000 emergency grant to keep the lights on at night soccer games for all Fremont Unified Elementary schools.

"Be healthy and active, is the basic theme of the event," adds Elliott.

Happy Fish Run 4 Education
Sunday, October 11
7:30 a.m. - 12 Noon
Central Park/Lake Elizabeth, Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont
(510) 226-7946

$25 children/$35 adults. These are the fees as of October 1. All include t-shirt and goodie bag.

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