History 2017-06-07T13:47:45+00:00

Wildflower Run History

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

2018 will mark our  35th 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. 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 Run to Live Oak High School (where it is 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 – Reinstituted 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. SVE remains our timing company today.

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 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 is now electronic

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

2015 – reached 1200 runners

2016 – Added Senior 2K Run/Walk, on school track following Kids’ 2K.

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