Time really must fly when you’re having fun, because the Beneezy Purple Monkey Fun Run is about to celebrate its 10th running on Aug. 30.
That adds up to a lot of purple monkeys awarded as age-group prizes, a lot of Popsicles consumed by hot, sweaty runners and, most importantly, lots of scholarship money raised for Alvin High School graduates.
“We’re getting close to the $100,000 total for scholarships and should reach it this year,”said Lenny Garcia, founder of the Purple Monkey Fun Run. “Last year, we raised enough for 14 scholarships.”
While the emphasis is on fun, there’s no shortage of competition at the Purple Monkey, as the runners on the certified 5K and 10K courses are chip-timed and eligible for three-deep awards in 5-year age groups. For younger runners, a kids’ 1K for children ages 12 and younger makes two-and-a-half loops around the Alvin High School track.
“We even have 1- and 2-year-olds being pushed around the track in strollers,” Garcia said. “It’s really cute.”
The 5K and 10K runs start at 7:30 a.m., heading from the football stadium to Adoue Street, then make long stretches on Kost and South streets before returning to the stadium. Runners in the 10K make two loops of the course.
“The number of runners has increased every year,” Garcia said. “Last year, we had 700, and this year, we’re expecting about 800.”
The Garcia family, Lenny, Victoria and Danny, organized the first Beneezy Purple Monkey Fun Run as a tribute to their son Ben, an Alvin High School graduate and college water polo player whose life was cut short in an auto accident. To fund scholarships in his name, they began the fun run, and to honor his upbeat, zany spirit, they incorporated the purple monkey that made friends and strangers smile.
Online registration is available at signmeup.com, and race-day registration will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. in Gym 3 at Alvin High School.