Children, professionals, amateurs and even strollers alike lined across Pacific Avenue last Saturday for the 5th annual Wrigley River Run. The race day featured a 10K run, 5K run, and 1K “Tadpole Trot” run set aside for children 10 years or under. The event is the brainchild of The Long Beach Neighborhood Foundation (LBNF), a nonprofit 501(c)3 founded in 2008 to serve the community through athletic events. Funds directed to the LBNF support grants and development programs to aid at-risk youth in Long Beach.
The starting line began at the Holy Innocents School, 2500 Pacific Ave. The pathway took participants along the Los Angeles River Bicycle Path and then back to the school. Local bands, including Cabrillo High School’s jazz band, among others, performed along the course during the race. An awards ceremony at 9:45am concluded the races.
5K winners Todd Horton and Lilyana Morejon and 10K winners Jimmy Grabow and Mara Stegemann each garnered a $100 certificate for local running specialty store Legacy Running Co. 15K winners Horacio Pena and Stegemann each won trophies, while the top three winners from each age category received medals. Each “Tadpole Trot” participant received a finisher’s medal.
Matt Brigham, 56, placed first in his age division for the 10K race. An avid runner, Brigham trains five to six days a week and participates in a running club in Long Beach. “Aside from being great exercise, I find [running] a good time to meditate and contemplate. It’s good relaxation,” Brigham said. “It’s wonderful to see the community come out and do something together.”
Cynthia Montesinos ran the 5K. Montesinos appreciates running as a motivator to train during the week. “I did 34 minutes, and this is the first time I ran it pushing a stroller with kids in it,” Montesinos said before laughing. She trains four days a week and likes that the LBNF-sponsored race gives back to the neighborhood.
Food, goods and festivities– including pizza sponsored by local restaurant Buono’s, and items from more sponsors– and live music followed the awards ceremony. Buono’s has sponsored the Wrigley River Run for the race’s entire five-year life. Frank Buono, the owner of Buono’s, loves to run himself and ran the 10K. “I love this race! This is Wrigley’s one and only local race,” Buono said. “It’s a great opportunity to see all the neighbors.”