The Art Inventory

Bust Out The Briefcases, And Fun Run

by Kirby Lindsay, posted 30 May 2012


The Fremont Fun Run 5K in June 2011 - a race for all kinds of atheletes Photo by K. Lindsay

In the evening of Friday, June 8th, the Fremont Fun Run takes off from a Solstice Plaza full of runners, philanthropists, vendors, strollers, partiers, and other assorted Fremonsters of all speeds.

The Fun Run includes a both a USATF certified 5K run/walk and the singularly sensational Briefcase Relay race.  These races serve as the traditional jump start of Fremont season – and warn of several impending celebrations such as the Fremont Fair, Solstice Parade, Picnic In The Park, and Outdoor Cinema season.

This year, the Fun Run feels more fully Fremont than ever, with the enthusiastic participation of some new local businesses.

Along For The Run

The reason for the of the Briefcase Relay racers adds the food donation to the baskets for the food bank at the June 2011 Fun Run. Photo by K. Lindsay

“It’s been a dry spell for the couple of years prior,” admitted Garett Slettebak, of Pro-Motion Events – the race organizer.  Recently, Pro-Motion found sponsorships from outside the Fremont community, but this year more local businesses stepped up, and gave financial as well as physical support.

“We’re right there,” Darren Gillespie acknowledged, “we’re adjacent and adjoining and surrounding.”  Gillespie is co-owner of Anytime Fitness Fremont, which relocated to Solstice Plaza – and the Fun Run starting line – back in January.  “We’ve decided to focus our marketing on Fremont activities,” he explained, and they found the Fun Run on a list provided by the Fremont Chamber.

Produxs also has proximity to the race starting line.  The web research and design firm relocated its offices to the Canal Building in Fremont in May 2011, across the street from Solstice Plaza.  Yet, as Produxs President Ken Hunt explained, the company wants to be good local neighbors.  Good neighbors that support a worthy cause – the race supports the work of Solid Ground – and get right into the silly spirit that surrounds nearly every Fremont enterprise, eventually.

Where Silliness Wins

While slightly more colorful, the Briefcase Relay race can be as competitive as the 5K race. Photo by Cornicello Photography, Jun '11

Hunt acknowledged that at Produxs, they have made a deliberate decision to engage with the community here, in ways they couldn’t at the previous location.  They want to engage in philanthropic work to benefit a local non-profit agency, and they can do that at the Fun Run from a booth on the Plaza distributing reusable, folding water bottles and fundraising with a raffle for remote control Volkswagens (the tasty treat of the Fremont Troll.)

A team from Produxs, which includes Hunt, will get very, very hands-on by participating in the Briefcase Relay – “with one of those big design portfolios,” Hunt acknowledged. 

The team also made a ‘training video’ to show other teams the secret to real, Fremont-style preparation – a brisk jog along a route that allows stops for samples at Fremont Mischief, Theo Chocolate and Fremont Brewing.

A 'traditional' Briefcase Relay runner... Photo by Cornicello Photography, Jun '11

The owners at Anytime Fitness have also gone all in for the Fun Run.  Gillespie’s business partner, Sean Erhardt, has gone out to area businesses to promote the race and, possibly, sign-up Briefcase Relay team.  Even with the gym literally in the center of the Fun Run gathering, Anytime will also have a booth on the Solstice Plaza, “with free giveaways, a free massage table set-up,” Gillespie promised, “and pointing people in the direction of the beer garden.”

If that weren’t enough, Anytime Fitness staff will also lead runners in a pre-race warm-up with rhythm, thanks to a partnership formed with the neighboring Salsa Con Todo dance studio.  “We’re going to put a Fremont spin on everything,” Gillespie admitted.

A Familiar, Friendly Place

“Fremont is a tight location,” Slettebak acknowledged, and having local businesses involved enhances the close community feel of the location. 

Runners for both the Briefcase Relay, which starts at 6p, and the Fremont 5K run/walk, which starts at 7p, will gather in Solstice Plaza starting at 4:30p – and the large open space develops a festive atmosphere.  Having vendor booths with familiar Fremont faces – PCC Natural Markets and Solid Ground are also there – helps make the event feel friendly.

What Briefcase Relay attire has become Photo by Cornicello Photography, Jun '11

The race course runs down North 34th Street, along a smooth, mostly flat course (considering that this is Seattle.)  “It’s pretty close to sitting just perfectly in the Plaza,” Slettebak observed of the location, “we like how close it is to the main intersection,” and Fremont activity, without a heavy impact felt by the majority of the business district.

This proximity is part of what appeals to the local businesses, including Brooks.  Although not located in Fremont – yet – Brooks has come on-board as the major sponsor of the Fun Run this year – and will distribute 900 Brooks Tech Shirts to the first 900 people who register for the 5K.

A Casual, Costumed Race

The Brooks shirts will go to participants in the ‘real’ race, while team members in the Briefcase Relay get the standard Fun Run cotton t-shirt – and a drink token for the Fremont Brewing beer garden. 

However, as Gillespie quickly pointed out, those who register – soon – for both races will get a shirt, a beer and the chance to donate food to FamilyWorks.  “Hey, guys,” he joked, “don’t be stupid!  Run both!”

Slettebak, who organizes many races throughout the year, acknowledged that the evening Fun Run, “brings out a much more casual type of runner.”  It may be the time of day, or it could be the costumes…since some of the spectacle of the Fun Run could put off the hard-core, serious type runners.

Solstice Plaza becomes the place to see every kind of runner, before the Fun Run. Photo by K. Lindsay, Jun '11

The official uniform of Briefcase Relay teams continues to be business attire on top, and running attire below.  “It used to be just a suit and tie,” Slettebak agreed, but teams have gotten very creative in recent years, and he now encourages costumes of any kind.  This has made the 5K starting line, which has always had runners, walkers, strollers and dogs, rather more colorful.

The Fun Run has everything for the serious racer – and more for the full-on Fremonster.  Come sightsee on June 8th starting at 4:30p at Solstice Plaza, and check out the costumes, get a free massage or a folding, refillable water bottle (and say hello to the neighbors,) then step inside the beer garden.

Or register to run, for the fun of it, through the Fun Run website.  “We’re about 100% over where we were on registration at this point last year,” Slettebak observed at the end of May, so if you do want to run – and want a Brooks shirt – register today.  And see you there!

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©2012 Kirby Lindsay.  This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws.  Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.


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