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McParland event honors teacher
McParland teacher and race coordinator Ben Theiss watches over the finish line at the inaugural Heller E. Lipsett Memorial in November 2013. - photo by HIME ROMERO


• WHAT: The Heller E. Lipsett Memorial 5K/one-mile run/walk

• WHEN: Sunday. One-mile begins at 8 a.m.; 5K starts at 8:30 a.m.

• WHERE: Start and finish at McParland Elementary School, 1601 Northgate Drive.

• REGISTRATION: One-mile, $15; 5K, $25. Register at or contact

McParland Principal Dale Borgeson came up with the vision for his school’s next health and fitness project.

Teacher and running enthusiast Ben Theiss has been charged with implementing the idea.

And the legacy of late instructor Heller E. Lipsett – the namesake for this weekend’s memorial run – will be the vehicle that drives the initiative.

The second annual Heller E. Lipsett Memorial is Sunday morning and will feature a one-mile and five-kilometer run/walk, beginning and finishing in the school parking lot.

The one-mile race begins at 8 a.m., while 5K participants will leave the starting line at 8:30.

“She was very community oriented and made our school stronger because she was family,” Theiss said of Lipsett, who died of a brain aneurism in June of 2013. “She was so self-less. That’s the main word I would use to describe her. She was always eager to help other people – the kids, the teachers and the community.”

Registration is $15 for the one-mile run and $25 for the 5K. All proceeds will be used to fund a running path on campus.

The inaugural event raised approximately $5,000 that went to the school’s community fund to help augment field trips, Science Camp and other activities.

Theiss said the path will be used by students, school employees and members of the cross-country team, formerly known as the McParland Running Club. 

In time, Theiss said the path would grow to include cross-training stations, such as pull-up bars, benches and the like. 

The path was dreamed up by Borgeson and would allow McParland to host all of its running endeavors on campus. 

Currently, the cross-country team leaves campus for its training runs. Students turn circles around Doxey Park, where every two laps is the equivalent of a mile. 

“Not that McParland is a bad area, but it would be nice to keep them on campus and off the road,” Theiss said. “We could also have stations for cross-training.”

The proceeds from Sunday’s run will act as the start-up capital for the project, Theiss said. He also noted that the school has had conversations with Manteca Unified School District officials about the running path.

“We’re really trying to build this path,” he added, “so the kids don’t have to run around Doxey Park for their mile run. 

“We want to get enough money to fund or at least start this running path. Our principal, Dale Borgeson, came up with this idea and I thought it was great.”

There’s just one problem.

The registration for the memorial run is down almost 50 percent from last year’s inaugural event. 

Theiss said there are about 165 participants registered for Sunday’s races. He’d like to see that number approach or surpass 300 by the Sunday’s first gun.

Theiss is encouraging all those that supported the memorial last year to return. All participants are guaranteed a T-shirt, even those that register Sunday morning.

“She’d be leading” the running path project, Theiss said of Lipsett. “She’d be my right-hand man, so to speak. She would have been a big help in making this possible.”