Ready, Set, Great Race!

by Mira Reverente

Chumash Park was the site of the expo party and pancake breakfast.

Thousands of runners and walkers are once again expected to toe the start line of the Great Race of Agoura this Saturday, March 19. Once again Dole is the title sponsor.

In its 31st year, the Great Race is considered one of the–if not the largest–fitness events in the region. There are six races this year, but the Chesebro Half Marathon is dubbed the original “Great Race. ”The popular trail race is once again sold-out. “It sold out faster than in the last few years,” said Danny Greenberg, race director, of the best half-marathon in the country, according to Active.com.

Participants can still enter the Pacific Half-Marathon, which is a road race, said Greenberg, However, it has lots of sneaky hills, according to a past participant.

Then there’s the Old Agoura 10K which is equally challenging but currently almost full, Greenberg said.

The Family Fun Run, the Deena Kastor 5K and the Kids’ Mile round up the six races, which begins at 7 a.m.

“We get many comments year after year from people saying that they never knew this type of scenery existed around here,” said Greenberg, noting that participants in the three longer races will pass Paramount Ranch, Malibou Lake, ranches and state parks along the way. “It’s definitely oozing with small-town charm.”

Pacific-Half-Malibou-LakeA diverse participant field from 35 different states and five countries is expected this year.

Along with small-town charm comes some big-hearted philanthropy. Every year, the Great Race benefits local schools, including seven Las Virgenes elementary schools, and Oak Park High School, donating over $1.6 million since its maiden year in 1985.

Local businesses benefit, too, by participating in one of the biggest post-race parties in the area. “We were [recently] voted best post-race party on Active.com and LAS & F,” said Greenberg.

Over 70 local vendors will be in attendance to showcase their wares, give out samples and feed the hungry racers after they cross the finish line. Expect to see local favorites like Dole, Cronies, Western Bagel, Starbucks, Arrowhead Water, Sprouts Farmers Market, Twisted Oak Tavern, Nature’s Bakery, Live Soda, Farm Fresh to You, El Pollo Loco and the gigantic, Big Idaho Potato Truck.

medal-on-chesebro-runnerOnline registration closes on March 15. Check the website to find out if late or race-day registration is still open for your desired event.

There will also be a Great Race Sports & Fitness Expo held Thursday and Friday, March 17 and 18. Held at the Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center, it is free and open to the public with family activities, entertainment, vendor booths and last minute race registration (for races not sold out). Hours are Thursday, March 17, from 1– 7 p.m., and Friday, March 18, from 12-6 p.m.

Will you be participating this year? 


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