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Doctors Hospital saves the day for Pumpkin Run
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• WHAT: 9th annual Faustina Rosas Memorial/Pumpkin Run

• WHERE: Downtown Manteca

• WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 4, 1-mile race at 8 a.m., 5K race at 8:30 a.m. 

• COST: By Sept. 26 it is 20 per person or $70 family entry fee for a single race with four complimentary T-shirts. On race day, the fee for a single race is $25 per person. An additional $5 per person is charged if one wants to be in both the 1 mile and 5K runs. T-shirts may be available for race day registrants but supplies and sizes will be limited.

• MORE INFO: For entry forms go to

The ninth annual Pumpkin Run on Saturday, Oct. 4, will go on as scheduled after a brief cancellation on Thursday.

Stepping forward to save the day was Doctors Hospital of Manteca.

“We’re in a fortunate position to do this,” Doctors Hospital CEO Nico Tejada said in a telephone interview on Friday.

When he saw the printed copy of the Manteca Bulletin Friday morning, his eyes immediately honed on the story about the announced cancellation of the Faustina Rosas Memorial Pumpkin Run sponsored by the non-profit Manteca Unified Student Trust because it didn’t have the funds to pay the $970 fee required by the city to get the event going.

“It’s very easy to read a headline and then go on to the next story,” Tejeda explained.

But this article caught his eye, he said, because his two young sons, ages 2 and 4, “are looking forward to running in this particular race. Many adults and kids are looking forward to it.”

He and his wife and their sons will be among the many families who will be taking part in the 1K run. The 5K run is mostly geared for older runners.

Sponsoring the annual event was also a way for Tejeda, in his role as CEO, and for the hospital “to support our community and support the Pumpkin Run,” he said.

MUST executive director Wendy King was overwhelmed by the hospital’s philanthropic gesture.

 “He called me this morning and offered to pay. I’m just happy it’s all working out; very happy that the run is back on,” said a very thankful and relieved King.

What made things even more remarkable for King was the overwhelming number of people who, by telephone and email, contacted her “asking how they could donate, and how everybody can pitch in so we can raise enough money – multiple, multiple email offerings to help.

“I have to tell you, my email and phone burned up with multiple people calling and offering their help. His (Tejeda’s call) was one of many,” King said.

• • •

Start, finish point of  Pumpkin run will remain at the same location

Having someone to sponsor the fund-raising event also means the Pumpkin Run, which will kick off the Oct. 4-5 weekend Pumpkin Fair, will be able to conduct the race using the same route that runners have followed in the last eight years. The 1K and 5K run will take off from the Manteca Bike Path on the corner of Elm Avenue and North Street, where registrations also will take place in the morning. The 1K runners will proceed to Alameda Street where they will turn around and go back to the starting point. Participants in the 5K run will go on past Alameda and Louise Avenue and then to Northgate Drive where they will retrace the route along the bike path crossing and finish at the start location.

Police Chief Nick Obligacion offered an alternate route for the run which would have relieved MUST the necessity to pay the $970 fee. It would have placed the start and finish location at the Manteca Transit Center on Moffat Boulevard at the corner of South Main Street, with the route proceeding east along the bike path toward Spreckels Avenue. MUST would not have been required to pay the fee because the runners would only have to cross one roadway – Moffat Boulevard – instead of “multiple” four-lane high-speed roadways, explained Obligacion. He could have covered that route with volunteers, he said, instead of having staff law enforcement officers to monitor the Pumpkin Run route. The fee was to be used to pay for city police officers to monitor and patrol the two roadways along the route.

The other solution that was presented was for MUST to request a fee waiver from the City Council. But that was out of the question since the next council meeting is Oct. 7, four days after the run. However, the council could schedule a special session to consider this matter and approve the waiver.

• • •

Money from Pumpkin Run go to student scholarships

King has just one concern right now. “I’m hoping that the registrations keep coming,” she said.

“Proceeds we make all go toward scholarships for students (in Manteca Unified School District) to play in our elementary sports programs, or for college. All the money goes back to the students,” King said.

The Manteca Unified Student Trust was launched in 2006 by a group of community members, elected officials and educators. Their aim was to provide financial support and programs that enrich the lives of students in the school district, especially in light of budget cuts that forced the elimination of many of these after-school sports programs.

It was MUST which revived the annual Pumpkin Run, held in conjunction with the popular annual Manteca Pumpkin Fair, with the proceeds being used to sponsor basketball, volleyball and track programs, including girls and boys teams from every elementary school in the school district.