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Education in the St. Vrain Valley prepares for a stampede

The 36th Annual Sunrise Stampede is making a return to in-person events on August 14 at 8 a.m.

The 36th Annual Sunrise Stampede is making a return to in-person events on August 14 at 8 a.m.

Sponsored by the St. Vrain Valley Schools Education Foundation, or SVVSEF, the Sunrise Stampede supports Teacher Innovation grants in St. Vrain Valley School District, or SVVSD, to benefit students with special needs.

“We’re looking forward to funding teacher ideas that could become the future of public education for our special needs students,” said Josh Atherton, executive director of SVVSEF.

According to Atherton, SVVSEF funds around $45,000 a year in Teacher Innovation grants with more than a quarter million dollars raised in the past few years of the Sunrise Stampede. Some of the past projects supported by the Teacher Innovation grants have helped create a Unified Percussion Ensemble at Mead High School and sensory tools for student learning throughout the district, as well as transportation support and technology engagement.

This year will see a change in form from previous events. Race distances have been halved, from a 10k race and 2-mile Fun Run to a 5k race and 1-mile Fun Run. There will also be a virtual race from August 12-15, similar to the 2020 Sunrise Stampede.

“The virtual side is for folks out of state that want to participate or who can’t make it due to health and wellness,” Atherton said. “We wanted to give an alternative for people to participate.”

According to Atherton, the decision to move to shorter race distances was to create something that fit better for the SVVSD community as a whole. 

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a serious runner, you’re doing a couch to 5k or you just want to come out and walk the course and enjoy a beautiful day near Silver Creek High School, we’re trying to make this a family-oriented community event,” Atherton said. 

The 1-mile Fun Run is open to SVVSD students ages 18 and under, and includes a Sunrise Stampede t-shirt for students that register before August 10th, as well as entry into a race day raffle. The first 500 students who complete the Fun Run will receive a special race medal.

“A lot of (SVVSD) elementary schools have a 100-mile running club to promote health and wellness, so we’re looking at the Fun Run as a great start for that,” Atherton said. “We’re trying to be inclusive of all our students and give the younger kids a chance to participate without having them run the whole 5k.”

The Silver Creek High School track will host the Fun Run, along with a sponsor fair and cheering squad. The course for the full 5k begins at the high school, taking runners past Dry Creek Community Park and Blue Skies Park before circling back past Blue Mountain Elementary School.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the community there at this kick off for the 2021-22 school year,” Atherton said. “We haven’t seen a lot of our community members these last 18 months, so this is a great opportunity for people to come enjoy a beautiful Saturday morning, get a little exercise in and see each other.”

Atherton and the SVVSEF encourage participants and supporters to carpool to the event as much as possible. For the first time in the event’s history, school busses will shuttle runners to the event’s starting location from the overflow parking set up at Altona Middle School and Eagle Crest Elementary.

Advance registration for the 5k and Fun Run ends on August 10. The entry fee for the 5k is $30, while the Fun Run is $10. Registration will be available on the day of the race, though last-minute participants will not receive a Sunrise Stampede t-shirt.