TEMPLETON — The Templeton Recreation Department officially wrapped up their “Run Away From 2020,” Virtual 5K Fundraiser on January 2 and are estimating that they will raise somewhere between five and seven thousand dollars.

The Templeton Recreation Department puts on an annual 5K fundraiser called the Jingle All The Way 5K but decided to go with a new theme this past year when they were forced to move virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The name of the run was ‘Run Away From 2020,’ because, quite frankly, we were all over it, as I am sure everyone reading can relate to,” Recreation Supervisor Melissa Johnson told the Atascadero News. “We typically operate our ‘Jingle All The Way 5K’ as an in-person event, and since we obviously couldn’t do that and had to go virtual, we just decided we might as well throw a joke in there as well.”

It cost $30 to enter the virtual 5k, and it came with a “Swag Bag” filled with appropriately themed items such as hand sanitizer, a t-shirt with a caricature depiction of COVID chasing a runner, and, of course, toilet paper. Johnson also decided to throw in a second t-shirt this year from fundraisers in years past, reminding runners of the good ol days.

The Templeton Recreation Department placed their registration online expecting participation from local runners but ended up with some entries from hundreds of miles away.

“Folks from Idaho, Alabama, Clovis, people who have no idea where Templeton, California is, never heard of it and just wanted to participate,” Johnson said. “I think they might have been running low on TP because of the toilet paper in our swag bags.”

The virtual fundraiser featured around 60 participants running between December 19, 2020, and January 2, 2021.

The Templeton Recreation Department is in the middle of their new baseball conditioning pods program that began on January 11 and will run for four weeks.

“They are going well; we have about 100 kids playing broken up into POD’s,” Johnson said. “Softball and baseball lend themselves really nicely to social distancing, and it has been really fun for coaches and the kids to get out on the field, and baseball is also the program we canceled the night before Opening Day last Spring in March of 2020.”

The Rec. Department will be moving into new sports starting in February. Tennis classes through the Templeton Tennis Ranch will begin on February 1, and flag football and conditioning pods are expected to start on February 22.

“We are looking for ways to add some different things like an archery program and a track and field program,” Johnson said. “Ball sports are what we are really good at around here, it’s what we do, and we have been operating these programs, but we want to find a way to incorporate some of these other programs too.”

For those with questions or looking for more information, head to templetoncsd.org.

Getting through this together, Atascadero