Wildflower Run History

Read our 30 year retrospective: 30 Years of Scholarships for Women and Girls

2013  marked our  30th annual Wildflower Run! While the Run has grown significantly from our beginnings, it remains a volunteer run event, with all proceeds supporting the American Association of University Women’s mission of equity and education for women and girls.

Tee-Shirts – Designs & Annual Contest

Each year runners receive, along with other goodies, a unique t-shirt, designed for that year’s run. We encourage submission of designs via an annual design contest. Designs have been submitted and used by AAUW branch members, their friends and families, other community members, and professional graphic designers. We welcome all submissions. The submission deadline is August 31 prior to the following spring’s Run.

Browse our past 40 year t-shirt design history: 40 Years of T-Shirt Designs

Plan to enter next year’s design contest!  Design Contest Guidelines

Historical Highlights

Over the decades, we have seen runs come and go, with most now managed by for-profit race management organizations. We are now one of the few large non-profit volunteer-run running events left in California. As an all-volunteer event, we are able to maximize the proceeds from the run directed to individuals and organizations in support of gender equity and education for women and girls. We have worked hard to stay current and relevant for today’s running community. Following is a list of major changes and enhancements we have made to the Run since our first event in 1984.

1984 – First Wildflower Run with 217 participants, all women and girls. All events (2k, 5k, 10k) started at Watsonville Road and Santa Teresa Blvd.

1985 – Moved route to begin and end at Machado School to eliminate the hill in Hayes Valley. However, a man on Watsonville didn’t like women running by his property and threatened them with a gun.

1986 – Moved to Live Oak High School (where we have been ever since, with the exception of 1995). Added “Tot Trot”, a 440 yard dash for girls under 6, on the high school track.

1988 – Opened all events up to men as well as women.

1992 – 5k Run became 5k Walk (in 2002 the 5k Run was added back again, providing two separate choices for participants).

1993 – 2k became children-only event

1994 – New 5k course

1995 – All events moved (for one year) to start at the new soccer complex.

1996 – All events moved back to Live Oak High School (where they have remained ever since)..

1997 – 10k rerouted to flat course (from up Cochrane Road past Anderson Dam Park).

1998 – “Advanced” from using tongue depressors to using runner bib tags on stringers to tally race results. Still manual tally process.

2000 – Added USATF certification for 10k (certification has been maintained ever since).

2002 – Re instituted 5k Run (in addition to 5k Walk). The 5k Run remains our most popular event.

2003 – Added online registration option through active.com

2005 – Increased focus on business sponsors, including structured business sponsor committee with presentation packet for prospective sponsors

2006 – Added runner goodie bags

2007 – reached 600 runners.

2007 – Moved Kids’ 2k from the road to the high school track.

2009 – Added sponsor logos to the back of tee-shirts

2010 – Instituted tee-shirt design contest. The winning design is used on shirts and all promotional materials.

2010 – Added professional photography by local photographers

2010 – Added group or team discounted rates. These have become extremely popular.

2010 – upgraded print materials to color (vs. black on colored background). Added postcard mailers (to replace mailed registration forms).

2011 – Moved from manual tally (runner bib tags on stringers) to chip timing with South Valley Endurance.

2011 – Added “Finish Fest” expo area near the finish line for our sponsors/running clubs/AAUW

2012 – Added 5k Stroller event with “bonus baby tees”. The event was a hit with 76 participants in its first year.

2012 – Designed/purchased new “wildflower run themed” signs (safety and caution signs for congested areas on the course, start flags, etc.)

2012 – Rerouted 5K to start near 10k start and end at 10k finish

2012 – Purchased professional outdoor sound system

2012 – Enhanced online presence: Created Wildflower Run website separate from AAUW website, initiated bulk email to past participants, enhanced Facebook and Twitter presence.

2013 – Stopped mailing postcards to past registrants – all communication to individuals is now electronic

2013 – Lowered maximum age for Kids’ 2k (on track) from 12 to 10.

2014 – Added Saturday “packet pickup” option for runners.

2015 – Reached 1200 runners; reached $50K in net proceeds available for our programs in support of gender equity for women and girls.

2016 – Added Senior 2k Run/Walk (for ages 60+), on school track following Kids’ 2k.

2016 – Re-certified 10k with USATF, including slight adjustments to the course.

2017 – Designed/purchased new mileage markers and our own directional signs.

2018 – Eliminated plastic water bottles, utilizing the Santa Clara Water District’s new “H2O To Go” water truck.

2018 – Partnered with the Morgan Hill Photography Club to start providing free, downloadable photos for all runners.

2018 – Added musicians along the course route.

2019 – Guinness World Record (woman pushing triple stroller) set on Wildflower 10k route.

2019 – Record $65K in net proceeds available for our programs in support of gender equity for women and girls.

2020 – Covid-19 quarantine 2 weeks before the scheduled event; converted into a virtual event, including opportunity for all to enter a social media contest for prize drawings.

2021 – With Covid restrictions continuing, this was planned and executed as a virtual run, with an emphasis on creating virtual teams from across the country. Prizes were awarded for teams and individuals social media submissions on various weekly training themes counting down to the event.