Race for the Schools holds first in person race since 2019
by Margaret Hurlbert
March 25, 2022

MUSCATINE, Iowa–Runners of all ages can once again lace up their shoes and come together for the ninth annual Race for the Schools. A family friendly race that supports physical education classes at all of Muscatine Community School District’s schools, organizers look forward to welcoming participants to an in-person race on May 7 for the first time since 2019.

A popular event both for runners and for Muscatine Community School District families, the Race for the Schools continued in 2021, even though it had to move to a virtual format. Though many people still participated, registering ahead of time and sending in photos of themselves running, it did not have the community feel of previous races. With the COVID-19 pandemic abating, race planners Daphne Donald and Becky Eserhaut enthusiastically welcomed the chance to go back to a traditional race. “I am super excited about getting back to the in-person race, said Eserhaut. “Virtual races cannot compare to the excitement and energy of being in person.”

In keeping with its usual format, people can compete in Race for the Schools in several different ways. The Muskie Mile provides a chance for youth and newer runners to get a first taste of racing. As an additional bonus, runners 19 and under can win age group and overall awards for the race. The 5K race takes runners throughout Muscatine and provides medals for both overall and age group finishers for runners of every age. If runners would like to push themselves further, they can complete the Muskie Challenge, which involves completing both the Muskie Mile and the 5K race. All runners who complete the Muskie Challenge will receive a special medal.

Once runners complete their race or races, they will find more fun in store for them at the finish line at Muscatine High School. Racers can enjoy a photo opportunity, bounce house for kids, and some tasty treats. Muscatine FFA will also have their greenhouse open, allowing people to conveniently pick up any plant purchases they made.

Over the last nine years, the Race for the Schools has brought in more than $40,000 in registration fees. This money gets split between all of Muscatine’s schools to pay for equipment for physical education and wellness classes, such as colored tape to make activity zones for preschoolers at the Muskie Early Learning Center; new dodge balls, tumbling mats, and baseball bases for elementary students; and weightlifting equipment and heart rate monitors for older students.

In 2019, the Race for the Schools set a record, with 352 people competing. This year, Donald and Eserhaut hope to break that record and get as many people either running or volunteering at the race as possible. “We try to involve students and people from the community as much as possible; whether they are running, or volunteering we appreciate them!” emphasized Donald. Those who cannot attend the race in person may also sign up as virtual runners.

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