Sunshine Elementary School to host its annual Bear Foot 5K

Mar. 08, 2013 @ 06:03 AM

If you like running or walking through beautiful, scenic views or are just looking for a way to get physically active, then the upcoming Bear Foot 5K is the race for you.

Sunshine Elementary School is holding this annual race on Saturday, March 23.

“Our participants include serious runners, weekend walkers, babies in strollers, cancer survivors and even people who have been through weight loss surgery. Many people have started walking or running for their health as a direct result of the Bear Foot,” said Robin Smith, media coordinator at Sunshine. “Ages for the 5K participants range from 3 to 87 years old and from all walks of life.”

The race, which will begin at 8:30 a.m., is a 3.1 mile route that starts at Sunshine School. There will also be a 1/2 mile Fun Run at 9:30 a.m. for children who are middle school age and under.

Smith and Susan Hollifield organized the first Bear Foot 5K in 2006.

“The idea to host a race evolved from our desire to build excitement in the community for health and exercise and we just couldn’t imagine a more perfect place for a run,” Smith said. “At that time, both of us had children at Sunshine Elementary and were involved in the PTO. So we went to Wayne Litaker, who was the principal at the time and asked if we could so this to encourage the students to get out with their families an exercise.”

Since then, the race has developed into the school’s biggest fundraiser bringing in $10,000 last year. The funds are used for general school supplies and technology.

“We have had approximately 100 sponsors every year, including small businesses, churches, classrooms, parents and grandparents. With sponsorships amounts ranging from $50 to $1500, this is a great way for businesses and community members to support the school financially,” Smith said. “We have had people come from as far away as New York, Tennessee and Florida. The number of participants has increased to over 300 in the past couple of years.”

In order to participate, people can pre-register online at by March 13 for $20. After that time, registration will be $25. Only pre-registrations will be guaranteed a race hoodie. People who might not be able to attend can register as a phantom runner to get one. If you have questions, you can contact Smith or Hollifield through Sunshine Elementary or the Bear Foot Run Facebook page.

“With this run, we celebrate the fastest times, but we also celebrate the discipline it takes to get up and lace your shoes, no matter the pace,” Hollifield said.