After placing first in the men’s division of the 2015 Dad’s Day Dash, Gabe Aeschliman returned to Manito Park with ambition on June 19 to defend his title and run with his co-workers from Gee Automotive Companies.
For Gabe, the chance to collect another first-place prize was only one of many reasons he spent a sunny Fathers’ Day morning striding across the 5K (3.1-mile course).
“It’s great to see so many people from work here,” said Gabe. “We had a lot more on board this year. It’s just a fun atmosphere, the music, the beautiful park, seeing the fathers and kids running.”
The fourth annual run and walk, with proceeds supporting SNAP, set records this year in number of participants, sponsors, corporate teams and volunteers. As it has from the event’s first year in 2013, Chase Bank was the presenting sponsor and provided volunteers as well as key organizers who helped coordinate the run with SNAP staff. The planning process begins in earnest each January.
“This event has turned into a highlight for SNAP on our annual calendar,” said SNAP CEO Julie Honekamp. “To see this year’s turnout was pretty amazing. It just seems to build more and more momentum and, along the way, more awareness and support for SNAP. We’re thankful to Chase and all the other event sponsors that make the Dash possible each year.”
Stylish Dad’s Day Dash dri-fit race T-shirts were worn by many of the runners and walkers who toed the start line near Manito Park’s Park Bench Café. While participants don’t traverse all 90 acres of Spokane’s signature park, there is no shortage of blooming flowers, shrubs, trees and along the trek. Gabe said the event “is a fit for all kinds of people,” not just serious runners. A total of 50 festive capes and masks were handed out in keeping with the event’s super hero theme. No official word on whether or not those in capes ran faster.
“I think it’s super fun for everyone, whether you’re running, walking, going 100 percent or just want to chill,” Gabe said.
Across the Line Timing was back this year to time and chip the race. While Gabe finished second in the men’s individual competition, his Gee Automotive squad repeated as corporate team champs. A total of 13 teams entered the corporate challenge this year, up from three in 2015. Coffman Engineers placed second and Itron was third. Each of the top three teams won generous prize baskets with a variety of items donated by local companies. The first three individual placers received gift cards from Fleet Feet Sports.
Following the race, participants enjoyed complimentary Powerade, water, fruit, donuts, whole grain bars and fruit chews courtesy of Yoke’s. Goodie bags were also handed out to all who registered.
“This is one of the best events we participate in each year,” said Scott Ward of Across the Line Timing. “We really enjoy being here.”
In addition to Chase, Fleet Feet, Across the Line and Yoke’s, the lineup of sponsors for 2016 included Hotel RL (Red Lion), Taco Time, The Children’s Choice Pediatric Dentistry, Gee Automotive Companies, River City Glass, Thai Bamboo, RE/MAX of Spokane, GoJoe Patrol, Tune Tech, Itron, Camco Construction and Mainstream Electric.
Along with volunteers from Chase and SNAP, several employees of the accounting firm BDO USA, LLP pitched in by donating of their time.
“I thought it was a fantastic event and that it was organized really well,” said NellaMae Behar of BDO. “I look forward to the event next year.”