Runners hit the paseos at second Art Run

Dozens of children take off from the starting line of the "Kids Dash" at the Arts Run Santa Clarita held at Valencia Heritage Park on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Valencia Heritage Park was a splash of colors as runners made their way through the nearby paseos during the second annual Arts Run on Saturday.

Beginning in the morning, the run first featured the Kids Dash, where young children took part in different art activities while wearing costumes. The 10K and 5K runs followed, as 400 participants started at the park, headed through the paseos along the San Francisquito Creek Trail and the Santa Clara River, then finished back at the park.

“We would like to use it as an opportunity to help the local arts organizations and nonprofits interact with a different segment of the population and show people what is available here in Santa Clarita to participate in,” said Stephanie O’Connor, Arts Run committee chairwoman.

Various arts nonprofits and sponsors that received financial support from the run lined the start and finish line at the park. This included Major Impact Theater, Gervais School of Performing Arts, Olive Branch Theatricals, Forge Ahead Arts and Calgrove Media. The timing of the run coincides with Arts, Culture and Creativity Month in the state of California, according to O’Connor.

“It’s so much fun,” said Matt Adams. “You hear the joy out of all the people cheering you on.”

Adams, an actor with Major Impact Theater, a nonprofit theater group where adults with disabilities perform parodies of different plays, ran last year and said the run is a great way to have fun and get some good exercise.

Dressed in bright colors and wearing cones on their heads, Stephanie Yoshida and her friends made up Runyola Crayons, one of the teams in attendance. She collaborated with her friend and fellow runner, Becky Taylor, to develop their team’s appearance last year, when they wore paint-splattered shirts.

“The idea just comes about,” Yoshida said. “Let’s get the most creative we can and who knows what we’ll do next year.”

Author Paul Toffanello sat under one tent, handing out copies of “The Popchuck Chronicles,” a trilogy of children’s books. He sat beside Lisha Yakub, founder of Calgrove Media. Toffanello said they were working on developing his books into a series of films.

“I love this. Just engaging with the public and being able to offer the books to kids, particularly, because we really want kids reading,” Toffanello said about the run. “We want them to understand that you can reach a lot further than just the reading. You can become a writer, you can become an actor, you can participate in any artistic skill and talent you’ve got.”

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