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February 19, 2013 > Get your jogging shoes on!

Get your jogging shoes on!

By Mauricio Segura

The sun is out, the temperature is rising it?s time to dig out your jogging shoes from the back of the closet and put them to good use. Whether you are a runner or not, physical fitness is fundamental for prolonged life, mental awareness, stress relief, and an overall mood enhancement. Now add the possibility that your efforts in a single day can benefit an entire school district, meet and make new friends, and have a lot of fun in the process who wouldn't jump at the chance?

The opportunity to do all of that and more will arrive on Sunday, February 24 as USA Productions hosts the third annual NorCal Half Marathon and 5k Fun Run in Niles. Serious competitors, enthusiasts, or individuals who just want to walk are all welcome to register and participate. Even families with jogging strollers can join in the fun, as well as dog owners with leashed pets. It promises to be a full day of fitness, fun, and enjoyment for all in attendance. "We look forward to holding an annual event in Niles that promotes health and wellness is this beautiful area," says event director Ryan Coelho.

Both races will begin in the heart of Niles, at the Town Plaza. The 5k begins at 7:30 a.m. from Niles Boulevard to the Alameda Creek Trail and back, while the half marathon, which begins ten minutes later at 7:40 a.m., will wind around Quarry Lakes and through downtown Union City, before heading back. The event is sanctioned by the US Track and Field Association, so insurance, emergency personnel, and plenty of support staff will be at hand if needed.

This is a race, so winners will receive a beautiful medal and prizes. But everyone who registers and participates will get a T-shirt, a showcase finisher medal (you can view the design online), that they will even engrave your time on if you wish, and free food and beverages once you get across the finish line. Apart from that, age division winners will also receive special recognition, and will be awarded a commemorative glass prize, a branded backpack, bottle of wine, and training supplements.

The best part is that all proceeds from the 5k go to Fremont area schools for sports programs. Volunteers from schools, including American and Washington High, Parkmont and Durham Elementary and others, will be on hand to help.

Though racing is the point of the day, not everyone is cut out to run. So, for those who would rather just stay behind, there will be plenty to enjoy. Niles shops and old town atmosphere will be a great backdrop to live DJ music, school bands, balloon artists for the kids, and food booths featuring burritos, sandwiches, pasta salad, fresh fruit, granola, bagels and muffins. Hot coffee, Osmo energy and recovery drinks, Naked juice and FRS drinks will also be available to wash it all down; event merchandise will also be on sale. So, just because you didn't run doesn't mean you'll be left without the chance of taking home a commemorative T-shirt of your own.

Already in its third year, the NorCal Half Marathon has been quite successful. "The last two years we have had 1,000-1,500 participants and this year we expect 1,200-1,500," says Coelho. Though it's too late for this Niles event, organizers provide free training and coaching as well, headed by Stanford University running coach Bernardio Tapia. If interested, inquire about training programs for future events by e-mailing Mr. Tapia at

Whether you run, jog, walk, fly, or just sit and cheer, register and enjoy the day at the upcoming NorCal Half Marathon and 5k Fun Run. It's for a great cause, and an opportunity to promote health and fitness to an entire community.

Half Marathon fees are $70 until February 22 and $75 on race day; 5k Fun Run fees are $30 until February 22 or $35 on race day. To register, volunteer, or get more information, visit or call (408) 515-2860.

NorCal Half Marathon and 5k Fun Run
Sunday, Feb 24
6:30 a.m. -7 a.m. - 5k / Half Registration
7:30 a.m. - Half Marathon Start (cut off time for the half is 11:30 a.m., then course closes)
7:40 a.m. - 5k Start
8 a.m. - noon - Finish Line Festival
Downtown Niles, Fremont
(408) 515-2860
Fees: $30 - $75

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