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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Running Festival set for Mason District Park

Participants in the 2016 Mason District Running Festival. [Bernard Pesjak]
Experienced runners, novice runners, and anyone interested in getting some outdoor exercise are encouraged to participate in the Mason District Running Festival Sept. 23, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on the trails in Mason District Park.

There will be multiple events during the day, including a six-hour run, a 5K, 10K, fun run for kids, and other runs, says organizer Bernard Pesjak, a Pinecrest resident and long-distance runner who has completed 50 and 100-mile marathons.

Pesjak enjoys running in nature, so he came up with the idea of holding a running festival last year to encourage nearby residents to run in Mason District Park. The 2017 event will be bigger and better, with a redesigned schedule and courses.

There are several unique aspects to the Mason District Running Festival: All the races are free, so everyone, including families, can participate without busting their budget. “I’m bringing this festival as a gift to the people,” Pesjak says.

To cut costs, there won’t be official timing. Instead, volunteers will record runners’ times with a pencil and paper. “We want to eliminate the competitive feeling,” he says. “A second or two up or down doesn’t matter.”

Besides, there won’t be prizes for the fastest runners. Instead, every runner will be entered into a raffle for prizes, such as gift cards and gift basket from local  businesses. Runners will get a raffle ticket for every mile run.

“This is a low-key, fun event. The main idea is to go out, have fun, and enjoy nature,” says Pesjak, the founder of Get Up and Go Coaching.

The 2016 Mason District Running Festival. [Bernard Pesjak]
The start and finish line will be at the field near the upper parking lot. Pesjak designed the courses so runners never go in the same direction twice in any part of the trail.

The 5K (at 9 a.m.) will be a little more demanding than last year with more hills. The half-mile kids’ fun run (10 a.m.), for anyone old enough to walk up to age 9, will be mostly flat.

There will be Race Directors’ Special at noon that’s just under two miles and covers every trail in the park. Runners can also combine that race with a second 5K.

The six-hour run (8 a.m.), the toughest to map out, covers 30 miles in a small space but offers a diverse course.

Although there are no fees, participants are encouraged to register online for planning purposes. 

Anyone interested in being a sponsor, donating prizes, or joining one of Pesjak’s group runs in Mason District Park should contact him at

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