Stony Lake Sparkler 5K Run/Fun Walk set for July 2

June 19, 2023

Stony Lake Sparkler 5K Run/Fun Walk set for July 2

The event has raised over $136,000 for the Crystal Valley Care Fund since 2015.

The Annual Stony Lake Sparkler 5K Run and 1-mile Fun Run/Walk is scheduled for Sunday, July 2. 

Registrations received before Friday, June 23, are guaranteed a T-shirt. Fees are slightly higher after that date, and T-shirts will be distributed on an as available basis. Everyone is welcome to turn out and cheer on the runners as they help raise funds for the Crystal Valley Care Fund.

The Stony Lake Property Owners Association has sponsored a run to raise funds for a local charity since 2015. The group’s goal was to create a fun, family activity as part of the Fourth of July celebration for Stony Lake property owners and the local communities, and to promote community involvement, drawing possibly a couple hundred runners, and soliciting sponsorships to fund a decent-sized contribution. More than 500 participants turned out for the first event in 2015, and nearly 900 ran in 2022.

Although the Sparkler could not be held in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID pandemic, community sponsors still offered support for the volunteer effort. “Our first year back after a two-year hiatus brought spectacular success for the Sparkler in 2022,” said Race Director Sally Malnor. “Friends and neighbors, happy to see each other in person, hugged and enjoyed the wonderful community event.” 

The Crystal Valley Care Fund received a donation of over $25,000, which included sponsor donations from previous years when the race wasn’t held. Since 2015, the Stony Lake Sparkler has raised over $136,000 for the local charity.

A nonprofit organization that helps Oceana County families facing catastrophic hardships, the Crystal Valley Care Fund distributes funds to families who are confronted with a house fire, life-threatening illness, or other “life-stomping moments,” as they put it on the website of the Oceana County Community Foundation, which holds their endowment.

The care fund was founded in 1992 by a small group of Oceana County residents who saw a need and set out to fill it. Through the years, names and faces have changed, but the mission remains the same. The Care Fund operates completely with volunteers, donated office equipment, a P.O. box, and a listening ear. There is no overhead, and 100 percent of donations go to people in Oceana County who meet the criteria.

The source of money distributed comes mainly from fundraising events held throughout the year, such as the Stony Lake Sparkler 5K. The Crystal Valley Care Fund also receives many donations from businesses, individuals, and memorials made in the name of loved ones. Each need request is brought before the board of volunteers and evaluated under the care fund’s policy. For further information, call (231) 873-5247.

There are approximately 100 volunteers involved in the Stony Lake Sparkler, and spectators line the route to cheer on the athletes.

Race Day Sunday, July 2, begins with packet pickup and late registration from 7-8 a.m. in the parking lot of the Stony Lake Inn. Early packet pickup and registration also is available from 9-11 a.m. at the Inn Saturday, July 1. The one-mile fun run/walk begins at 8 a.m., and the professionally-timed 5K run/walk begins at 8:30 a.m.

All fun run participants receive awards, with special 5K awards to male and female overall winners, masters, and grand master winners, and first, second and third place winners in age groups. There also are special awards for Largest Family and Best Spirit Costume. The race course is an easy out-and-back along scenic back roads.

A fun post-race party including food and music is again planned in the parking lot of the Stony Lake Inn.

To register, go to stonylakesparkler.com.

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