Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Benny Madrigal crosses the finish line at the Second Wind 5K in first place. He is the race director for the upcoming Fruit Tree 5K Run and Walk on Oct. 7.
For the second straight year, the Seva Organization will host the Fruit Tree 5K Run and Walk on Oct. 7.
The run and will also benefit Kids Kasa, which is a foster family agency in Fresno and Madera counties that serves children removed from their homes due to neglect or abuse.
“We pick a different foundation every time to spread the profits,” said race director Benny Madrigal. “We don’t make any money from it. This year is Kids Kasa.”
The last race raised about $2,000 for the Madera Linkage Foundation and the first race raised $1,800 to the Madera Unified Special Needs program.
“The first time we did it was August last year,” said organizer Inder Samran. “In one year, we’ve been able to set up three 5Ks. Our goal is not to do just one, but two or three a year. We want people to keep coming out to better their time. I want to try to build a fitness community. I feel you need better opportunities and more events to host to do that. Benny and I are both busy, for us to full-time into this and take free time to organize it, is something we’re dedicated to. We don’t touch the money. It goes straight to the charity we choose. Our main purpose is getting people out there and build a health and fitness community.”
The cost for the 5K is $25 for entries before Oct. 6 or $30 after. Participants can sign up at www.bit.ly/3rdtree5K. Children 12 and under are just $5 and participants older than 60 are also $5. Participants can also choose a 5K or a two-mile route along the Fresno River. The run will begin at 8:30 a.m. from Cedar Creek Senior Living. Every finish receives a fruit tree at Burchell Nursery.
“We can’t imagine another race for such a less price,” Madrigal said “We also want to try to raise money to our non-profit. It’s a good opportunity to run and create a good opportunity to know about fitness. We were also able to partner with Burchell Nursery. They have been on board from the beginning. It’s insane to when we went and asked to donate 150 trees. It’s great for them to be involved. We wouldn’t be a fruit tree run without the fruit trees.”
“Benny and I have known each other our whole lives,” Samran said. “We’ve been into athletics. Born and raised in Madera, I found myself going into Fresno to get into shape and do other running events. We don’t have much in Madera. We have a few. We wanted to create something for kids that had a purpose. We don’t want to burden someone financially to participate in a good event. The fruit trees we get are worth way more than $25. The trees came into the equation because I’m a farmer. I see the benefits of growing a tree. There’s a lot of satisfaction going into that. I talked to the owner of the biggest nursery in California. I found out he was a marathon runner. He loved the idea and was on board. They donate their trees 100 percent. We’re really lucky to have them be a part of this.”
Samran said the first time, Burchell donated pomegranate trees. The second time was a variety of fruit trees.
“It’s kind of like a surprise of what trees we’ll get,” Samran said.
Madrigal, who runs all over the country was approached by Samran to find a concept to help the community.
“I wanted to do something, as well,” Madrigal said. “He was talking to me how people older than us weren’t able to move around much. He wanted to promote fitness and wanted to also show where food came from. We thought a fruit tree run would be perfect. I felt like a run/walk with community is great.”
“My grandparents were immigrants in the country,” Samran said. “ I would go to their doctor’s appointment and they had everything. One day, I was talking to the doctor about what was going on. He said they had little or no exercise. That got me thinking about how do I get my grandparents moving. My grandparents come to my events to support me. If I can get them out to come watch, it’s doing something.”
Madrigal said the reason why the race is held near Cedar Creek and along the Fresno River is to get more people aware of more paths in the city.
“The first time, it was out Town and Country,” he said. “There are so many events at Town and Country. We wanted to show people there are other places to participate fitness. This is awareness about a bike trail near Cedar Creek and the Fresno River. It’s a trail that people can run without the fear of getting run over.”
Madrigal hopes for a bigger and better event, especially since it’s their third year of putting on the run.
“Inder sold me on it and brought the idea up,” he said. “It was something I would invest in. We’re more organized and plan better. We are working to making a better event. Our youngest finisher last year was 4 and oldest was 84. We want to show people you can go out to run, walk or jog. We have several goodies after and they will get fruit trees.
“It’s been great to put it together. We’ve had volunteers from all the schools and different programs. It’s grown a lot since the first one we did. We’re looking forward to provide a good event for people to show up again and again. “
Samran and Madrigal chose Seva as the name for their organization because it means selfless service in Punjabi.
“I’ve always been passionate about health and fitness,” Samran said. “This felt right.”