Achieve’s INstead Virtual 5K Race (Formerly Newstead 5K) Race Weekend Set for September 25-27

by The Achieve Foundation
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From the Achieve Foundation

Like so many other activities and events, the Achieve Foundation’s fall fundraiser is going virtual this year! We hope fans of the annual Newstead 5K — as well as those who have taken up walking and running during the quarantine time — will join us for the 2020 INstead Virtual 5K Race during the weekend of September 25-27, 2020

More than 500 runners and walkers of all ages are expected to participate in the fun and family-friendly event that has become a marker of the new school year in South Orange and Maplewood. This year’s race is like the ‘old’ Newstead 5K, but with a twist: it will be fully virtual. Choose your day, time and route. Several route suggestions through picturesque SOMA neighborhoods are posted on the race registration page (e.g. the INstead “3for5K” loop that passes by 3 SOMSD schools, the INstead “SO-Hilly” loop, and the INstead “Newstead Classic”) — or run your favorite 5K route right from your front door. Whichever the route, you can count on the D&I Fitness 6-week training plan to get you up to speed and ready to run! 

Despite the race being virtual, we have some very real fundraising goals and invite everyone to participate. Registration for runners/walkers is now open. Registration is only $25 per person through September 20, at which point the fee will go up to $35. Registrants will receive one of our popular dry wick race T-shirts (while supplies last). Participants will be given the option to create a personal fundraising page as well as to register multiple family members when they sign up, and since this is a virtual race, you can even include long-distance friends and family on your team! Please help us reach our fundraising goal of $25,000 for 2020! 

Achieve is thrilled to be partnering with presenting sponsor SOMEA (South Orange-Maplewood Education Association), and to have early sponsorship commitments from The Able Baker and D&I Fitness, long-time Newstead 5K supporters. Additional sponsorships are available at several levels ranging from $125 to $1,200 for local businesses, corporations and families. In addition to being featured on Achieve’s website and monthly newsletter, sponsors receive community exposure by getting their names or logos on the popular race T-shirts and the race registration site. Sponsors are asked to pledge their support for the race by September 1 in order to have their name or logo included on the T-shirts. 

The race typically raises between $30,000 and $35,000 annually to underwrite initiatives that foster equal educational opportunities for all students in the School District of South Orange & Maplewood, and inspire educators to bring innovative practices to the classroom – programs like Achieve’s signature volunteer tutor program, educator grants, a Chromebook lending library at CHS, hotspots for use during distance learning, STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, arts and math), and more. 

Seasoned race director Mutlu Bascillar welcomes new co-chair Katy Walmsley to help helm this annual event. They are pleased to be organizing the INstead 5K Race to benefit the Achieve Foundation and believe the event accentuates the importance of fitness for adults and kids and encourages healthy competition as part of the community experience. 

To learn more, email or visit the website at

About Achieve 

Achieve is an independent 501(c)3 organization that serves as the local education foundation for the School District of South Orange & Maplewood. Over the past two decades, the organization has raised more than $4 million to promote academic excellence and equity in all our public schools. 

The Achieve Foundation is known for its flagship Volunteer Tutor Program, which provides free academic support to students at all grade levels across the DIstrict, and has inspired innovation by awarding over 1,000 educator grants for classroom projects, professional development opportunities, and district-wide initiatives. Recently, the organization has worked to bridge the digital divide in our schools by piloting a Chromebook loaner program at Columbia High School and by funding the purchase of hotspots when schools were closed in the spring of 2020 due to Covid-19. Achieve also promotes hands-on learning through its free Maker Madness STEAM fair, and enhances music education through programs like the Vanessa Pollock Music Initiative and the Ted Cole Clarinet Project. 

To learn more, donate, or volunteer, visit

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