Peninsula Bridge Virtual Fun Run Breaks Participation Record


Participants with the most creative photos won prizes from sponsors including Sugar Shack and Topo Athletic. Photo courtesy of Page Curtin.

Ella Hartmanis, A&L Editor

Throughout the week of Sept. 13, Menlo co-hosted the eighth annual Peninsula Bridge Fun Run, but this year the event was held virtually. While Menlo intended to host another color run like it has in previous years, holding the run virtually allowed the event organizers to broaden the scope of participation by collaborating with the other six local Peninsula Bridge partner schools, as well as follow COVID-19 guidelines. 

In total, 1,152 people took part in the event, 588 of whom are part of the Menlo community. This registration broke the 2019 record participation of 603.

The event was a “5k your way,” meaning that participants could do different activities. Participants were encouraged to run, walk, bike, stationary bike, or row the 5-kilometer (5k) distance. People got creative with their choice of activity; some participants hiked, scootered and even surfed. “We want to keep promoting different ways to be involved, and having multiple activities did a good job of that,” Menlo Director of Community Engagement Chris Young said.  

Participants recorded their activity using Google Maps or Map My Run and then shared their results on social media using #pbfunrun2020. People were encouraged to submit a fun photo of themselves and their family doing their chosen activity after completing the race. These photos were then posted on Instagram by @PBFunRun so that people could see other members of the community who participated as well. 

The run was slated to take place on Sept. 13; however, due to smoke and poor air quality, participants were able to complete the 5k run between Sept. 13 and Sept. 20.

Additionally, all registrants were included in a raffle with prizes from sponsors including Sugar Shack, Vuori and Topo Athletic, carrying on the tradition of raffles from in-person runs.

Junior Reena Kagan ran a 5K with her mom to complete the Virtual Fun Run. Kagan has participated in the color run during previous years and enjoyed the sponsor booths among other things. “I missed being able to run with my friends and the whole celebration aspect,” Kagan said. Despite not being able to physically be with the Menlo community, Kagan still enjoyed participating in the virtual event. “We didn’t do it for a time or do it for the race; we just did it for fun.”

One of the other upsides of having a virtual event was that it allowed all of Peninsula Bridge’s partner schools to take part. These schools include Sacred Heart Preparatory, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Day School, Crystal Springs Uplands School, Castilleja School, Woodside Priory School and The Nueva School. “The benefit of having seven schools together shows the power of community and the strength of mobilizing private schools for public purpose and public good and the communal commitment to educational equity and educational access,” Peninsula Bridge Executive Director Randi Shafton said.

Every year, the run is an opportunity to bring communities together while raising money for the Peninsula Bridge Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports low-income students with academics and personal support. This year, $35,621 was raised — including $28,121 from participant donations and $7,500 from sponsorships. “In a time of uncertainty and canceled events, it was nice to look forward to one community event even if virtual. The very reason we could not get together in person was the reason it was more important than ever to raise awareness and show our support for Peninsula Bridge,” Peninsula Bridge Fun Run Committee Co-Chair Page Curtin said.