On a 5K race in South King County in 2013, ICHS Foundation director Ron Chew (right) leaves a younger racer in the dust. • Photo by Dave Greer
On a 5K race in South King County in 2013, ICHS Foundation director Ron Chew (right) leaves a younger racer in the dust. • Photo by Dave Greer

On February 7, International Community Health Services (ICHS) will be holding its inaugural Lunar New Year 5k run and walk in Mercer Slough Nature Park. East West Bank was recently announced as the Platinum Sponsor of the event, which will help raise money to support uncompensated patient care. ICHS’s philosophy is to serve every patient that walks through its doors, regardless of their ability to pay for health services.

Each year, ICHS provides almost $1 million in uncompensated care to the Puget Sound Region’s most vulnerable communities—10% of ICHS patients are uninsured, 14% are homeless, and 90% are people of color.

ICHS aims to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services to improve the health of APIs and the broader community. This includes offering patients free interpretation services in almost 50 languages. About two-thirds of ICHS patients have limited English-speaking abilities and require interpretation assistance.

ICHS said it hopes the event will help connect more Eastside residents to its new Bellevue clinic, which opened in May of 2014. A large proportion of residents in Bellevue and the Eastside area are APIs and immigrants.

The Lunar New Year 5k is both a running and walking event, and is open to people of all ages and speeds. Well-behaved, leashed furry friends are also invited to attend. The event will include cultural entertainment, appearances by local celebrities and community leaders, and plenty of food. Participants are encouraged to dress up as their favorite zodiac animal, and there will be a prize for the best-dressed person.

The Mercer Slough course includes a mix of terrain, with paved roads, gravel and dirt trails, boardwalks, and wood chipped paths. Check-in opens at 7:30 a.m. in the grassy field just south of the Park & Ride, and the race begins promptly at 9:30 a.m. Race organizers strongly encourage families to participate, since the course is relatively flat, but note that it is not stroller friendly (as trails may be muddy depending on weather).

While the Lunar New Year 5k is scheduled on the same day as the Super Bowl this year, race organizers are quick to remind prospective participants that the event will be over by 11:30 a.m. at the latest, well before kickoff. The 5k’s FAQs page states: “The Super Bowl does not start until 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time. Most fans are expected to start celebrating in the afternoon, so this is a great opportunity to get some exercise in before sitting around the TV for the rest of the day!”

Online registration is open at www.ichs.com/5k until 24 hours before the race. Registration is $25 before January 24, $30 before February 6, and $40 on site on the day of the race. Elders 65 and over and children ages 6-12 get $10 off the listed pricing, while children ages 5 and under can participate for free.

ICHS is currently accepting volunteers and sponsors for the event. To sign up as a volunteer, visit www.ichs.com/5k and click on the red Volunteer button. To learn more about sponsoring this event, please contact Foundation Development Specialist Christine Loredo at [email protected].

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