What happens when you combine more than 200 runners, numerous volunteers and sponsors, hundreds of prizes and giveaways, ice cream and a passion for giving back to the community? Well, $52,000 for Anacortes schools to be exact. That’s how much last year’s Fueling Education Fun Run 5K – sponsored by Shell’s Puget Sound Refinery (PSR) – raised for the Anacortes Schools Foundation. The funds benefited teachers and students in the Anacortes School District across a variety of programs.

The 3rd annual race takes place on Sunday, Sept. 17 at 10 a.m. at Washington Park in Anacortes. There’s still time to register by clicking here.

The kids race (just over a quarter mile) is free, and the Anacortes school that sends the highest percentage of its students will receive an additional $5,000 health grant. All participants will receive medals, prizes, merchandise and free food! 

Shell Puget Sound Refinery’s Fueling Education Fun Run 5K

Meet Fun Run Co-Chairs Ryan Kudlacek and James Steller

James Steller serves as the Reliability & Refinery Excellence Manager for PSR, and he is primarily responsible for ensuring the site runs as reliably as possible – day after day.

“Building a reliable site is a marathon – not a sprint – just like training for a running race,” said Steller. “Similar to my job, racing takes a lot of perseverance, work on improving yourself every day, dedication to goals, and overcoming obstacles. I take a lot of the same behaviors I put into my runs and apply them to my work.”

Due to a mutual passion for running, PSR’s Contracts & Procurement (C&P) Manager Ryan Kudlacek convinced Steller to co-chair the site’s inaugural Fueling Education Fun Run 5K in 2015. After being involved in Shell’s Fun Run at its Deer Park, TX Refinery & Chemical Plant for several years, Kudlacek saw an opportunity to bring a similar event to the Anacortes community. 

“I saw firsthand the difference that Shell and community partners made in Deer Park, and I wanted to help make a difference here as well,” he said. 

Shell Puget Sound Refinery’s Fueling Education Fun Run 5K

Race has grown significantly

The 2015 race featured 100 runners and raised $35,000. The 2016 race featured 200 runners and raised $52,000.

“Our goal this year is to have even more students participate,” said Kudlacek, who has run more marathons and mountain races than he can count. “We also want to help kids make the connection between fitness and fun since it’s so important for their long-term health.”

Shell Puget Sound Refinery’s Fueling Education Fun Run 5K

Fun Run generates long-term impact

“The excitement and energy on race day is just incredible,” said Steller. “It’s a day filled with fun for all ages, and the mission resonates with everyone. The race is all about what’s truly most important – local kids, who represent our future. It brings the community of Anacortes out to have a great time, for a great cause, in the most beautiful county park in the world!”

Kudlacek – who has numerous educators in his family – said his passion for the Fun Run stems from the extraordinary impact it has on the students and families who live in Anacortes.

“Education is the gift that lasts forever…and it keeps on giving to future generations,” he said. “Any support we can provide our local schools means more students have every opportunity to succeed.”

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