When runners, walkers and bikers flood The Market Place shopping center for the Dino Dash on Sunday, volunteer Bob Machado will be there.
In his 22 years as a Tustin Public Schools Foundation volunteer, he hasn't missed one race.
This year, the Dino Dash will feature a 2K fun run, 5K and 10K runs, and a 50K bike tour – a far cry from 1991 when it began.
Machado remembers the beginning. He had joined the Tustin Public Schools Foundation because his children were in the Tustin school system.
"It was Dec. 1, 1991, and there were cold, Santa Ana winds up to 40 miles per hour," Machado recalls.
At 4 a.m. Machado and the other volunteers were setting up for the race, a fundraiser for the Tustin Public Schools Foundation.
"We had 100 people in an empty storefront with no electricity – and worst of all no coffee," Machado said.
The race itself was a leap of faith, Machado said. The foundation had a total of $3,000 in its budget. The group would have to spend about $100,000 to have a race company organize the event. Members pushed for sponsors and race entrants and were able to pay the funds. The group ended up with a $3,000 profit.
Since then, the race has become a family affair. It's common to see multiple generations of Tustin residents at the Dino Dash each year.
Machado and his wife, Patricia, haven't backed out since their children graduated. Patricia still hosts the check-in every year and Machado has been a co-chair for the past few years.
Last year, the 21st annual Dino Dash attracted at least 7,000 runners and had a profit of $170,000. Funds pay for after school sports and music programs and cover other campus needs.
Organizers are hoping to match the number of participants this year. Dino Dash organizers expect about 10,000 people at The Market Place on Sunday, including volunteers.
"I love seeing smiles," said Carol Burby Garrett, the foundation's executive director. "Everyone seems so happy. The kids love seeing their teachers."
An expo is held during and after the races. Nonprofit groups and schools sell food and drinks, and groups including the Anaheim Ducks will have games to play. High school student bands will be performing.
Everything is set up by 6 a.m. and cleaned up by noon.
In years past, Machado would watch as the 2K runners took off at the start line.
"You get chills watching," he said. "It was really thrilling. It's a mob of kids."
Registration is open from 1 to 7 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Dick's Sporting Goods, El Camino Real in Tustin. Participants can also register at 6:15 a.m. on race day, Sunday.
Information: dinosaurdash.net or 714-832-3060.
Contact the writer: 714-796-7949 or email@example.com