The annual Thanksgiving Day Run & Food Drive has been a foothill tradition for 22 years.
By Jason KUROSU
Prepare your Thanksgiving appetites early with the 22nd Annual Thanksgiving Day Run & Food Drive in La Cañada, an early morning, community-wide event that combines fitness with a charitable cause.
Starting at 8:30 a.m. at La Cañada’s Memorial Park, participating runners of all ages and abilities will take off on a 5K run/walk, in what has become an annual tradition on a holiday typically associated with much more sedentary activities.
Immediately after the 5K, a one mile kids’ run for children 12 and under will start at around 9:30 a.m. Parents are encouraged to run with their kids if they like at no additional cost. Kids in strollers and pets on a leash may also take part (or be along for the ride) in either run.
An award ceremony will cap off the festivities, rewarding the first runners to cross the finish line recognizing both genders and a variety of age groups.
Of course, though, winning is not the goal of this holiday event, which is also being organized as usual between the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge and the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station.
Many will think with their stomachs on Thanksgiving Day, but it is the hunger of those in need that will be the real focus.
The sheriff’s station will have trucks at the park to gather donations of non-perishable food items and will distribute the donations to families in need, said Maureen Bond, executive director at the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge.
Food donated during last year’s event went to more than 150 needy families.
Food donations will be accepted up to the day of the run, as well as monetary donations towards the food drive or the community center.
Sen. Carol Liu and Capt. Bill Song of the CV Sheriff’s Station will also attend, said Bond.
She encouraged any and all to take part in the run, reiterating that there is “no pressure” for those considering participation.
Overall, Bond expressed joy about the continuing tradition that the Thanksgiving Day run has built within the community, with sometimes “three or four generations of many families taking part.”
Tickets for the 5K Run/Walk are $35 and kids’ mile tickets are $15 by Nov. 25; $40 and $20 respectively on the day of the event. Registration will be open at 7 a.m. A 5K warm-up led by La Cañada’s Extreme Bootcamp starts at 8 a.m.
Food donations can be dropped off at the Community Center of La Canada Flintridge, located at 4469 Chevy Chase Dr. For more information on entering the run, contact the Community Center at (818) 790-4353.