Mark Nix is Mission Viejo’s Director of Recreation and Community Services, and one of the biggest proponents of the upcoming Community Health Fair & 5K Fun Run, featuring Children’s Cerebral Palsy Movement. His tireless efforts have helped put this event together, and his desire to help children with disabilities is a huge reason why we expect the First Annual Community Health Fair & 5K Fun Run to be a massive success for children of ALL abilities!
Mark sat down to tell us about why this event is so important to him.
As the City of Mission Viejo’s Director of Recreation & Community Services, what inspired you to hold the city’s First Annual Community Health Fair & 5K Fun Run? Why is this event important to you personally?
Part of our Department’s role in the community is to promote health and wellness. We decided to expand the Community Health Fair to include a 5K to attract more people to the event and target families. We also have received multiple requests from community organizations to host 5K events of their own in our parks. Rather than have multiple 5K events throughout the year, we thought if the City was able to implement one major event where non-profit organizations could benefit, we could do a really nice event allowing the organizations to focus more on what they do versus trying to implement a fundraiser. This is a great way for the City of Mission Viejo and the Mission Viejo Chamber of Commerce to give back to our wonderful organizations and help them achieve their goals.
How did you choose the Oso Creek Trail as the perfect setting for this run? Tell us about its features that make it interesting for runners.
The Oso Creek Trail was selected because of its uniqueness and length. It also has the Village Green located next to the Community Center providing ample room for staging and the Community Health Fair. The trail is unique because of its scenic views, public art and both paved and unpaved paths. The trail has numerous amenities and features that serve to educate and honor the community including the Peace obelisk to honor victims of 9/11, the mosaic history walls in the Character Garden, the vibrantly painted butterflies, the Celebration Garden, the Wave Wall on the Upper Oso Creek Trail, and the community murals surrounding the Village Green. And many small animals and birds call the Oso Creek Trail home.
Allowing the runners to donate their entry fee to charity is wonderful and unusual. What inspired you to do this?
The City recognizes the important role our community organizations provide in Mission Viejo and this is one way we can support them and their efforts. The City is able to implement events such as this so it’s an easy way for us to incorporate our local organizations into an event and help them fulfill their goals. In the end… everyone wins with this type of a collaboration and it prevents the organizations from having to compete with each other to raise money. Hopefully this is the first of many opportunities to pool resources and get the various community organizations working together.
How did you come to learn about Children’s Cerebral Palsy Movement (CCPM)? What inspired you to expand your original vision for a 5K to embrace a children’s walk/run that would be suitable for children of all abilities?
I didn’t know anything about Children’s Cerebral Palsy Movement until I received a call from Debbie Fragner who was interested in hosting a 5K event in Mission Viejo. After meeting with her and discussing the possibility of working together… she gave me the final push I needed to implement the 5K which my team had been talking about doing for a few years. Through the desire to help her organization and bring more awareness to the Children’s Cerebral Palsy Movement, we agreed to incorporate the two children’s runs with her organization’s help. The City of Mission Viejo has a long history of supporting programs which provide inclusion opportunities and we’ve even offered some ourselves. This aspect of the event fits perfectly into our programming model and we are proud to be a part of it.
How might runners benefit from the Health Fair held in tandem with the Fun Run? What type of businesses and services will be represented?
There will be over 60 health related businesses and organizations in the Health Fair component. The vendors will include many medical and dental professionals, local medical centers, fitness related venues (ex. gyms, YMCA and City fitness centers), and organizations promoting fitness programs such as Silver Sneakers. Some of the vendors will be offering screenings such as injury assessments and dental visual exams.
What are you most excited about related to the event?
I’m most excited about attracting people to the Oso Creek Trail to experience the amazing trail while also furthering our partnerships with so many organizations within the community. The event will go rain or shine so that could also make things interesting. The uncertainty is always exciting too!
Registration is now open for the First Annual Community Health Fair & 5K Fun Run! The OSO Fit Community Fun Run and 5K is special, providing a natural setting and the opportunity to extend a hand to kids with Cerebral Palsy. Children with CP can participate too with the tremendous help from our running community.
If you’re a runner, this is your chance to make a difference!