by Mira Reverente
The Dole Great Race of Agoura Hills has reached a milestone birthday–30. “Not a lot of races can say they reached that milestone,” said Traci Greenberg, race director of The Dole Great Race of Agoura. The Great Race is widely considered one of the largest, if not the largest, fitness event in the region, attracting locals and out-of-towners from 35 states and countries, including the Czech Republic, Germany and Bermuda.
As in past years around around this time, the popular Chesebro Half-Marathon, dubbed the original “great race,” is sold out and race day is three weeks away on Saturday, March 28 in Agoura Hills.
Participants need not fret. Five other events are open but filling up quickly, said Greenberg. For the half-marathon fanatic, there’s the Pacific Half-Marathon, a road race with tons of sneaky hills and sweeping views of the Santa Monica Mountains, Malibou Lake and Old Agoura.
Tawni Gomes of Camarillo said the exhilerating scenery is definitely an attraction to running enthusiasts like herself. Gomes estimates she has completed at least six or seven of both the Chesebro and Pacific Half-Marathons. “I also love that it’s local,” she said.
For the short distance enthusiast, there’s the Old Agoura 10K, the Deena Kastor 5K, Kids’ 1-Mile Run and Camp Kinneret Family Fun Run. “There’s an event for every member of the family,” said Greenberg.
And since it’s the 30th year, Greenberg said everyone of the close to 7,000 participants gets a tech shirt. “Yes, everyone, not just the half-marathon finishers – even the kids,” she said.
The post-race party and expo at Chumash Park is hard to beat, too. Voted the “Most Epic Post-Race Party” on active.com and the “Best Party” on LAS&F, the bonanza celebrtation attracts both local and regional vendors.
“Cronies Sports Grill is new this year,” said Greenberg. “Among the returning vendors, participants always look forward to Great Harvest Bread’s delicious pancakes where the lines are always long.”
Since 1986, The Great Race has been supporting the local community with over $1.6 million in donations to area schools, including Agoura High School, Oak Park High School and various elementary schools. The annual donations help pay for school programs not funded by the state of California.
In addition, The Great Race also partners with charities such as The V Foundation, Train 4 Autism, Team in Training and the American Heart Association, among others.
Volunteers are the heart and soul of this event. Numbering over 500, Great Race volunteers are spread out over two days of packet pick-up, three start lines, different courses, the finish line and the post-race party.
And they are still very much needed, according to Jodi Regan, volunteer coordinator. “We usually get a lot of high-schoolers from Oak Park HS and Agoura HS, but during the day at packet pick-up on Thursday and Friday, we could still use some help,” she said.
For more info or to volunteer, click here.