RUNNING: Daffodil Run celebrates 19th year with more generosity than ever |

RUNNING: Daffodil Run celebrates 19th year with more generosity than ever

The Joanie Bumpus Daffodil Run draws hundreds of participants to Western Gateway Park in Penn Valley annually with the proceeds from the event going to local schools. This year the event is also raising funds for schools in Paradise.
Photo by John Hart

Know & Go

What: Joanie Bumpus Daffodil Run

When: Registration opens at 7:30 a.m., race starts at 8:45 a.m., Sunday

Where: Western Gateway Park, Penn Valley

Race website:

The Gold Country Grand Prix will continue apace this Sunday with the 19th running of the Joanie Bumpus Daffodil Run.

The 5K/10K race will kick off at 8:45 a.m. and the funds from the race will go to support Penn Valley schools.

The Daffodil Run is one of the longest running races in the in the Grand Prix, and is, in fact, one of the few that predates the race series itself. Apart from the inaugural run, the Daffodil has maintained the same course throughout its long history; this, in addition to how flat and relatively fast the course is has made the Daffodil a unique and popular draw for the Grand Prix community.

Race Director Gene Gilligan, who took over directing duties for Joanie Bumpus in 2009, said the race has always been incredibly lucky with the weather, and he’s hoping for more of the same this year.

Beyond the hopes of good weather and fast times, this year’s race offers a special kind of hope that goes beyond running. In addition to the standard entry fee for the race which goes to support local schools, Gilligan has asked entrants for an additional $5 donation which will be given directly to the Paradise schools affected by the devastating Camp Fire of last year. The Daffodil Run has pledged to match any and all funds received from this efforts up to at least $500.

Gilligan says he has been blown away by the generous support of the community in this effort.

“Those fires, it’s something that could happen here, so I just thought, ‘hey, let’s help,’” Gilligan said, adding that of the more than 200 runners who have already signed up for the race, approximately three quarters have made an additional donation.

“It shows this community really cares,” said Gilligan and said of the recipients of the funds, “I’d like them to know we care, because we’re neighbors and we just wanted to do what we can.”

As for the race itself, the Daffodil appears to be poised for another strong year, with solid pre-registration numbers, many likely day of registrants and the ever present support of sponsors and volunteers.

Gilligan recalls first taking over the race directing responsibilities from Bumpus and being apprehensive about the hectic nature of putting on an event like the Daffodil Run. His concerns were quickly assuaged by the capability and tenacity of the numerous volunteers from local groups like the Penn Valley Lyons, Rotary and other community groups.

“They know exactly what to do” said Gilligan of the volunteers.

This year the Daffodil will benefit from the return of the woman who started it all. Joanie Bumpus, who recently moved back to Penn Valley, will be back in the fold this year helping make the race run.

“I think this year is going to be great,” said Gilligan.

Every year for 18 years the Daffodil Run has allowed people in the community a chance to get some exercise and support a great cause, and in its 19th year it is upping the ante, supporting our neighbors.

To register for the race, visit the cost of the run is $25 and race day registration is available starting at 7:30 a.m.

Kael Newton is a Nevada County native and freelance journalist. He can be reached at or @KaelNewton on Twitter.

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