Carmel Valley resident Sheri Kono held her fifth annual Summer Run Club 5K on Aug. 6 at the Solana Ranch Park. As she has for the last five summers, Kono brings local kids and parents together for seven-and-a-half weeks of running together at the park, all leading up to the celebratory and fun 5K race.
“This year's program and 5K are my favorites of all my years doing them by far,” Kono said. “Everyone is so motivated, it’s been really inspiring. It can be a lot of work, but it's totally worth it – kind of like exercising!”
Sean Kono,12, won the race in a personal best time of 22:54. The first female finisher was Jess Freeland, 10, who ran the 3.1-mile course in 25:40.
The youngest runner in the race was 4-year-old Alejandro Colon, who ran with a giant smile and finished with a blazing fast sprint.
This year, run club sponsor Fleet Feet provided a clock so runners could see just how far they have come over a summer’s worth of training. Each runner received a medal and a coupon for a free pizza from sponsor Fresh Brothers.
Kono, who is always wearing her cheerful smile and her trademark visor with a big flower attached, first started a lunchtime running club at Solana Highlands Elementary School in 2011, followed by her first Summer Run Club in 2013. The club moved from Solana Highlands Park to the new Solana Ranch Park.
With the club, Kono has her runners tally their mileage and fill out running journals to track their progress and how they feel about each running day. A certified personal trainer who also leads boot camp classes, Kono works with the runners on speed and strength drills, as well.
“One of my main goals for the program is to inspire our participants to recognize the importance of exercise and hopefully the fun it can be too,” Kono said. “I feel like this year's program has been really successful in both regards.”
Additional sponsors of the Summer Run Club included:Trader Joe’s, The Baked Bear, Road ID, Souplantation, Be the Match, Brigantine, Miguel’s, Kashi, Luna Grill, Carlsbad 5000, Wired Fitness, Hot Chocolate 15K/5K and Pardee Homes Carmel Valley 5K and Fun Run.