2019 Run-A-Muk saved by local business owner

By Makenna Dreher | Apr 17, 2019
Courtesy of: Jenny Mukai Carp Mukai, a student at Kamiak High School, was the winner of the 2018 Run-A-Muk 5K. Mukai finished with a time of 16:52. In 2018, there were 304 total racers. Run-A-Muk was initially canceled, but was saved by local business owner Penny Kellam.

Penny Kellam, owner of Sunshine Productions running company, has stepped up to produce the annual Run-A-Muk 5K/10K on Aug. 24, with all proceeds going to the annual Lighthouse Festival.

As The Beacon reported earlier this year, both the Run-A-Muk and festival parade were canceled. At the Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival Association’s (MLFA) Feb. 28 meeting to discuss the future of the festival, which was in danger of not happening due to lack of funds and community support in the form of sponsors and volunteers, it was explained that the race and parade could be cut because they cost more to produce than the festival was receiving.

Then on April 1, the Lighthouse Festival updated social media with a post that announced that Run-A-Muk will be back on for 2019.

Run-A-Muk has acted as a fundraising event for the festival for the last few years, and takes place a few weeks prior to the festival.

Lighthouse Festival President Julie Martin said Kellam reached out to her about producing it.

“I saw a note on social media that Run-A-Muk was canceled this year which made me really sad,” Kellam said. “I love this event and I think it's a really important part of not only the Lighthouse Festival, but also of our community.

“My company, Sunshine Productions, produces several charity-focused races each year.”

According to Sunshine Productions’ website, the company raised and donated $30,867 to charity partners through charity-focused events in 2018.

Kellam said she checked her schedule for 2019 to make sure she had the necessary time to produce another successful event and then reached out to Martin with the offer to produce Run-A-Muk free of charge, with all profits going to the festival.

“I was over the moon excited when the response was ‘yes.’”

Kellam and her husband grew up in the area and have many fond memories of the Lighthouse Festival and Run-A-Muk.

“We live in a beautiful place and getting to share that with folks from outside the immediate area makes me so happy. And I love watching friends and neighbors greet each other as we come together for race day,” she said.

“Having the opportunity to be part of the festival while giving back to my community was

something I simply couldn’t pass up.”

Kellam was originally brought in to produce Run-A-Muk in 2013 by the City of Mukilteo Parks and Recreation manager at the time, who thought she would be a great fit. They were familiar with Kellam’s work with Inspiring Hope Run 5K/10K, Kellam said.

Kellam produced Run-A-Muk for four years, from 2013-2016, and grew the event from about 100 runners to a peak of 748 in 2015, she said.

During the four years she produced Run-A-Muk, the event averaged about 625 runners.

“My goal is to grow the 2019 Run-A-Muk back to something close to that number,” Kellam said. “It’s an aggressive goal, but one I plan on reaching by returning to our roots: a fun, family friendly event that welcomes athletes of all levels, a gorgeous start and finish line, (participants’) choice of a chip-timed or casual race, free finish photos, an awesome finisher’s medal, free ‘Kids Dash,’ and friendly volunteers and great community support.”

In 2017 and 2018, the festival board decided to go a different direction for the production of Run-A-Muk, so she wasn’t involved.

“Sunshine (Productions) ran Run-A-Muk for the first few years, and then we got a new company,” Martin said. The Snohomish Running Company produced the event for two years.

“When the chance to come back presented itself, I knew I had to try to make it happen,” Kellam said.

With so much uncertainty with the Lighthouse Festival’s future, community members have been stepping up to help where they can.

“It’s been amazing how people are stepping forward, like Penny,” said Martin.

Even though Run-A-Muk is back on, the festival parade’s future is still unknown.

Martin said that if another organization or group steps forward and wants to run the parade, the festival board would be open to it.

“We don’t have the volunteer base to run (the parade) currently,” she said. The former festival executive director, who recently stepped down, was in charge of the parade, Martin said, and Martin doesn’t have the history to run that part of it.

Martin also said she is still looking for volunteers and board members. She has two ready to be voted in, and has room for three more.

For Run-A-Muk, registration is now open and early registration numbers are strong, Kellam said.

Volunteers can sign up on the website and Kellam said they are also looking for local business support through in-kind donations of all different kinds which can be found on the website as well.

“The Lighthouse Festival is part of our shared community heritage and Run-A-Muk is an important part of helping fund the festival,” she said. “I simply couldn't let Run-A-Muk be canceled when I knew that I have the knowledge and skills to make it profitable once again-- with lots of community support of course.”

To sign up for Run-A-Muk, or for more information on the 5K/10K, visit http://www.runamuk5k10k.jigsy.com.






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