Proceeds Benefit Tribal Preschool ◆ By Mike Hiles
Some people run races to challenge themselves, some for the exercise and others to join with like-minded friends to have fun. No matter the reason, participants in the sixth annual Soboba Trail Race on Feb. 4 can be assured that all their steps will benefit children.
The Soboba Tribal Preschool has always been the sole beneficiary of trail race proceeds and director Dianne King couldn't be happier.
"The preschool building is shared by TANF so in the past couple of years we have been able to purchase equipment for the building, which benefits both entities," King said. "Our multi-purpose room is used for various functions."
The preschool holds events throughout the year including an annual Easter egg hunt and luncheon for families, holiday programs, Indian Day celebrations and more. TANF uses the multi-purpose room for Teen Nights, Birdsinging classes, Native dancing classes and daily afterschool tutoring for elementary and middle school students. Adult GED classes are also held in the multi-purpose room.
"The past five Trail Races have provided an incredible contribution to the preschool. We were able to buy computers and new equipment and furnishings for our new preschool. We also opened a new private kindergarten program a few years ago. All of the furnishings for the kindergarten classroom, including four iPads, were paid for by the Trail Race," King said. "Last year's proceeds from the Trail Race allowed us to buy new tables and furnishings for the multi-purpose room for all our events."
This year offers 5K, 10K and 25K trails as well as a "Fun Run" one-mile walk that is perfect for young kids and the elderly. Race Director Andy Silvas said most of the 100 to 150 participants compete at the 5K level.
"The course will be the same as last year," said Silvas, who works for the Soboba Parks and Recreation department that organizes the annual race. "For the majority of the courses the rain will not have any effect. There are some remote sections that we will be working on after the rains are over."
King said her staff is very excited about the upcoming event, with teachers starting a health challenge at the preschool.
"This will be the kick off for our healthy resolutions," she said. "We have six families participating as teams. We have challenged the families to create a team of three or four people and compete with the other families in the 5K."
King offered the family challenge to encourage more families to walk together.
"It doesn't have to be a race, just get walking!" she said. "It's an incentive to put down the cell phones and electronics and spend an hour walking trails and bonding together."
King has been at all the races but couldn't run last year because she broke her foot.
"The first year was a bit rough," she admits. "I had never done a 5K, let alone a trail race but each year it gets easier. For me, it's a personal journey. I don't run for timing. It takes me about 45 minutes to complete the 5K. I enjoy being out there in the hills when the sun comes up, admiring the beauty of the Soboba hills on a brisk morning. It's a breathtaking start to the new year."
King begins prepping for the race about a month in advance. She said knowing it is right around the corner helps her stay on track through the holidays.
"Each year we have a handful of students that come out to walk with us," she said. "They enjoy getting their shirt with registration. It is worn as a trophy that they have finished the race. Fitness is always encouraged with our students. "
There will be more than 15 vendors this year so even if people don't feel like walking or running the trail and just want to come to support a friend or family member, there will be plenty to do. Some booths will offer Herbalife, LulaRoe, Essential Oils, Obia Soaps, Origami Owl, Younique and Tupperware products.
"One of our Tribal members, Antonia Briones, will be making Indian Tacos," King said. "She is well known on the reservation for her Native American cooking. Antonia has attended all of our Trail Races. She is very supportive and appreciative of the preschool. All four of her children have gone there and this is her way of giving back."
Briones said she helped advertise this year's event by sending out fliers and posting information on social media.
"I love that this race brings the community together for the kids," she said. "I've worked at the preschool for one year. I volunteered my time for the past nine years but I am now a teacher assistant and hopefully one day I will be a teacher."
King said the main thing she wants people to know is that they don't have to be a professional runner to come out to the event and have a good time.
"We have participants of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels that choose to walk or run the trail," she said. "And if you haven't been past the Soboba Casino, the reservation holds a great deal of beauty in the hills of Soboba."
Top finishers among the competitive runners receive beautiful handmade Indian pottery awards painted with the Soboba Trail Race logo. Registration can be done online at www.sobobatrailrace.com. Cost is $20 for fun run, $30 for 5K, $45 for 10K and $60 for 25K. Check-in for the race will be at The Oaks at Soboba, 45750 Castile Canyon Road on the Soboba Reservation.
Race information, 951-260-8293.