Thousands Expected at the Gary Burns Annual Fun Run

Pictured: Coach Bustamante & her daughter Coach Compton

Pictured above: FISD Educators, Gina Bustamante and her daughter, Alyssa Compton.

Calling all runners, walkers, strollers, volunteers, teachers, parents, cheer sign-holders, waterboys and watergirls… Everyone is welcome at the Frisco Education Foundation’s Gary Burns Annual Fun Run this Saturday, October 28th!

According to Allison Miller, Director of the Frisco Education Foundation and Partners in Education, this popular community event attracts around 5,000 people, including volunteers and spectators. Miller tells us,

The Frisco Education Foundation Fun Run in memory of former Asst. Fire Chief, Gary Burns is in its 18th year and has come a long way since our first race. As the district and the community grow, so does the race.”

While the event is well known around town, people may not realize this is Frisco Education Foundation’s largest fundraiser of the year, generating over $100,000 annually. The proceeds are poured back into our community through college scholarships for FISD students, and the Grants for Great Ideas program, which funds innovative projects proposed by FISD educators. Since 1999, the Frisco Education Foundation has awarded more than $4.5 million in scholarships to more than 5,600 FISD high school seniors, and approximately $657,000 in teacher grants.

One of the scholarships funded through the run is aptly named the Gary Burns Memorial Scholarship. The run and the scholarship honor the memory of the former Frisco Assistant Fire Chief, who died of colon cancer in 1999. Known not only for his dedication to the city as a firefighter but also for his support of students in our community, Gary Burns could often be found donating his time and money to help local children. It’s very fitting that his legacy lives on in an event that continues to make a significant impact on Frisco students.

Event Details

The event takes place at Toyota Stadium and consists of a one-mile fun run (or walk) and a 5k-certified race. For the 5k race, medals will be awarded for the top three finishers (male and female) in each of 15 age categories. But you don’t have to be fast to be a winner! A traveling trophy will be awarded to the elementary, middle and high school with the most participants in the event. The trophy will reside at the winners’ schools until next year’s events – giving those schools ultimate bragging rights for the year! In addition to all the run/walk action, the event includes food and entertainment, such as an appearance by the well-loved City of Frisco Fire Clowns.

Spirit awards are also up for grabs. It is a great time to show off school spirit. Elementary kiddos (and their parents) have a blast meeting up with their PE coaches and running together as a group. At the middle and high school level, many clubs and athletic teams run together. The beloved event has definitely become an annual tradition for many people in the community. Frisco resident, Courtney Magness, had this to say about the event:

What I like about the event is how much community participation there is and what an example the FISD administrators are to the kids. They’re not only encouraging them to sign up and go, but they are out there participating themselves as well.”

Many FISD educators are very dedicated to the event. I spoke with Gina Bustamante, PE teacher at Christie Elementary, who has been a long-time supporter of the fun run. She says,

I enjoy the fun run because it invites the community to a family-friendly event anyone is welcome to attend during a beautiful time of the year.”

Coach Bustamante has been involved with the event in many different ways over the years, often running it with her daughter, Alyssa Compton, who is a PE teacher at Sparks Elementary. One year when Bustamante was joined at the run by several of her second grade students, she was even able to get the Superintendent at the time, Dr. Rick Reedy, to join her group for a picture (see below). This year, she proudly displays a collection of previous years’ commemorative shirts on her bulletin board to promote the event.

Online registration is open through October 26, but registration will also be available on-site the morning of the event. Online registration for the 1 Mile or 5k is $30 per adult and $15 per student. Race day registration will be $35 per adult and $20 per student. The schedule of events for Saturday, October 28th is as follows:

6:30 – 8:00 AM: Check In and Race-day registration.
8:00 AM: 1-Mile Walk/Run begins
8:30 AM: 5K begins

In my effort to learn more about the Gary Burns Annual Fun Run, I came across a great write up from last year’s event that features some of the previous students who have been awarded the Gary Burns Memorial Scholarship. It’s heartwarming to read their stories and see how their lives have been deeply impacted because of the scholarship. It makes me look forward even more to supporting and participating in this year’s event with my family!