The third annual Wrigley River Run and Tadpole Trot, which was presented by Buono’s Pizza and the Naza Family last weekend, was dominated by a young newcomer and an established champion. Reigning Long Beach Marathon champion Eli Rodriguez of Whittier has completed the triple crown of Long Beach running by winning both the 5K and 10K at The Wrigley River Run. He now holds the title at all three of Long Beach’s premier races.
At the Wrigley race, Rodriguez had some tough competition but eventually took the 10K by 10 seconds and then the 5K by six seconds in a much faster field than last year when Mark Vishnevsky cruised to comfortable victories in both races. Vishnevsky came in third in the 10K this year and sat out the 5K, which he had won in 2008 and 2009. For the women, 19-year-old Michelle Wethern won both events by comfortable margins. Road Runner Sports donated shoes to the male and female winners of the events so Wethern and Rodriguez both went home with two pairs of shoes each for their efforts.
The event’s organizing entity, the Long Beach Neighborhood Foundation (LBNF), reports that more than 700 people participated in this year’s events. The event generated more than $30,000 in donations and registrations from the community. Net proceeds from the event will be used to support programs that benefit at-risk youth in Long Beach and provide college scholarships to local high school students. “As this event grows, we are proud that the top runners as well as the casual athletes flock to our event, but more than that we are happy to have been able to put on an event that involved so many diverse parts of our community,” said LBNF President Gavin Mc Kiernan. “Three Long Beach high schools participated in a significant way, and many businesses responded affirmatively to our call for support for a family-friendly community event, showing that this community can and will come together outside of Downtown and Belmont Shore, where the overwhelming majority of events in Long Beach currently take place.”