By Ted AYALA
Where can a lover of the great outdoors find a single place that 1) has a challenging track to run, 2) happens to be surrounded by gorgeous panoramic views of the Los Angeles skyline and the Pacific Ocean, and 3) is preceded by a free pancake breakfast to boot? If you answered “the Verdugo Mountains 10K,” then move to the head of the class.
Registrations opened up earlier this week for the Verdugo Mountains 10K Trail Hike and Run, which winds along from Brand Park along the Brand Motorway. The course has runners beginning at 925 ft. above sea level, cutting through the Verdugo Mountains, reaching a summit of 2,670 ft. above sea level, then turning back toward Brand Park to head for the finish line.
Dan Bell, Glendale’s Community Relations coordinator, has been one of the members of the 10K committee
for the past three years. He said that Mark Stirdevant, the city’s senior administrative analyst who also heads the 10K committee, said he got the idea after noticing that a number of staff in city hall were also avid runners and hikers.
“That’s when he realized that he wanted to bring this kind of experience to Glendale,” said Bell. “We’ve been growing ever since.”
And growing it has.
Less than a week since registration opened, Bell said that over 300 people have already registered for the race.
“We’re ahead of pace for registrations in comparison to last year,” he said. “Last year we had about 725 participants. This year we’re looking to beat that. We’re very excited.”
Bell said that the race has helped make Glendale’s mountainous areas known outside the region. Runners from as far away as Ojai and Lake Elsinore have already signed up.
Making the race even wider known is the decision this year to link it with a pair of other races: the Fountain to the Falls race to be held in Monrovia on May 9, and the Mt. Wilson Trail Race to be held May 23 in Sierra Madre. Runners that participate in all three races will earn a special commemorative T-shirt.
“We decided to collaborate with the other two races in order to generate interest in our scenic outdoor areas,” Bell said.
Proceeds from the race will benefit the Glendale Parks & Open Space Foundation, which helps to “ nurture friendly, safe, clean, and well maintained parks and open spaces that enrich the entire community,” according to the foundation’s mission statement.
Among the race’s sponsors are Dignity Health Glendale Memorial Hospital, the Kiwanis Club of Glendale, and the Glendale Hilton. And in case you were wondering about that pancake breakfast, Massage Envy will be providing runners with those free flapjacks.
To register and find out more about the Verdugo Mountains 10K, go online to www.runtheverdugos.com. Find more information on the race on its Facebook page or by following “VerdugoMts10K” on Twitter.