Dash for Dads 5K keeps relationships and bodies health this Father’s Day

The Stavishes are frequent participants in Dash for Dad 5K. They are, from left, Megan Stavish, Carrie Stavish, Rich Stavish and Sarah Stavish. (Photo courtesy Carrie Stavish)

Father’s Day is traditionally a day to spend time with dads, doing something that they enjoy. Dads who like to stay fit can share their hobby with their children during the annual Dash for Dad 5K.

Organized by Tagg Running Events and founded by Steve Taggart, the event is Saturday, June 15.

The fun 5K run/walk takes participants along the loop of the Rillito River path. The race starts and ends at the hay barn ramada area in Brandi Fenton Memorial Park.

Taggart started the fun run seven years ago for dads who are enthusiastic about running. He says fathers appreciate having something different to do with their kids on Father’s Day.

“There’s a few people who have says this is one of their favorite things because they get to do it with their kids. For a few people, the kids don’t really run, but they come out and do this,” Taggart says.

Each year, proceeds from the Dash for Dad 5K go to charities chosen by Taggart’s son and daughter during the holidays. They write letters explaining why they have picked the charities and make a donation in his name.

This year, the beneficiaries will be She’s the First, an organization dedicated to helping girls to get a better education and graduate from high school, and the Sky Island Alliance, a charity that helps to preserve and restore environmental space and wildlife in the Sky Islands.

Taggart has been running for over 20 years and takes part in local races, often wearing themed argyle socks given to him by his children. His first hosted events in San Diego while living there, and has continued to do so since moving to Tucson.

Taggart also organizes other themed holiday runs, such as the Vail Jingle Trail and Fourth of July Freedom 5K runs. He says it is important for him to do something different for runners like himself.

“They have a fun, interesting, slightly different event than they normally would do. I’m usually in places where people are not putting on other runs,” Taggart says.

Prior to and after the race, runners can socialize with others. The Dash for Dad 5K is a fun run/walk, but the top dad will win a special racing-themed tie. The fastest male and female runners will also take away prizes. All finishers will receive special Dash for Dad ribbons.

With the registration fee, every participant receives a commemorative tie-themed T-shirt in honor of Father’s Day.

Taggart says the event encourages competitive runners to run alongside their family members. In some families, multiple generations come out to take part in the event.

“It’s a good way for runners who are semi-competitive in other races to slow it down and maybe show the love they have with their kids and run as a family,” Taggart says.

Some families get into the spirit of the day by wearing matching shirts with their family names or tie-themed T-shirts from previous years.  During the event, participants can also honor fathers who have died. When Taggart’s father passed away, he wore a tie-themed shirt to remember his dad.

For families such as the Stavishes, taking part in the run with the men in their lives is an annual tradition.

Each year, daughters Megan and Sarah return to Tucson to run with their father Rich and mother Carrie. They have been taking part in the event as a family for the last seven years. After the run, the four family members don the matching tie-themed T-shirts throughout the day.

The two daughters have been running with their parents since they were about 11 and 12 years old, and they have competed in half-marathons. Carrie says running helps her and her husband to stay healthy. Rich and Carrie changed their lifestyle about 10 years ago, giving up smoking, changing their diets and becoming more active.

Carrie, who has competed in an Ironman triathlon, started running about nine years ago. Rich, a trail runner, began seven years ago.

Throughout the year, Rich and Carrie do other races in Tucson, including Tagg Running Events races.

Carrie says the Father’s Day run has become special for the family because it brings them together each year.

“I’m sure it will continue,” she says. “As long as Rich wants to keep running, the girls will show up, and they’ll walk, or they’ll run. We’ll have breakfast, and we’ll spend time together. Those are the things that he really values. He never asks for anything. He’s not a person who wants things. He wants time with his girls.”