Published on: Friday, May 1, 2015 Takoma Park Newsletter

Ready, Set, Run: Safe Routes 5K Challenge scheduled May 3

Now in its seventh year, the Safe Routes 5K Challenge road race in Takoma Park is set to break records — and not just in how fast participants reach the finish line. The 5K starts at the Takoma Park Community Center, 7500 Maple Ave., 8 a.m. on Sunday, May 3. A one-mile Fun Run and ¼-mile Youth Run follow at 9 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. respectively. The one mile is timed this year for runners 14 and under.

More than 1,000 people are expected to participate in this May 3 event.

Started in 2009 as a way to spread the word about the Takoma Park Safe Routes to School program, which promotes pedestrian and bicycle safety, the race also has proved to be a great way to get kids and families active. In addition to encouraging safety and exercise, the program seeks to reduce traffic congestion and emissions around schools by getting people out of their vehicles.

Largely because of this race, the City of Takoma Park’s Safe Routes to School program is now recognized as a go-to place for pedestrian and bike safety. In October 2012, the program was featured on Fast Lane, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation’s blog, when Deputy Secretary of Transportation walked to school with Piney Branch students and presented a national award to the Takoma Park Safe Routes to School program and the participating schools.

More than 45 organizations and businesses have supported the race this year, with sponsorships and in-kind donations ranging from $20 to $5,000. Top funders include Lusid Media, Finn Family Group, and Social and Scientific Systems, Inc.

Money raised from the race supports the PTA at five schools in the City of Takoma Park: Piney Branch Elementary, Takoma Park Elementary, East Silver Spring Elementary, Rolling Terrace Elementary and Takoma Park Middle School.

Schools find creative ways to use their funds, 50 percent of which are required to go towards pedestrian and bike education or health and fitness programming. For example, Piney Branch Elementary used proceeds to buy playground equipment and East Silver Spring Elementary now sponsors the popular “run club” which has more than 100 members.

This family friendly race is open to all ages and abilities. Participants can run or walk a ¼ mile, mile or 5K (3.2 miles). For more information on how to participate visit:

This article appeared in the May 2015 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.