Runners Help Senior Reach Red Carpet

 

March 28, 2024

Robert Noriega

Charlotte Harding, 3, dressed in unicorn pink, runs in the Munchkin Dash.

Numerous runners viewed the Screenland 5K as a tune-up to last Sunday's LA Marathon, but for most of the 2,600 guests from 17 states and four countries, the eighth annual race at Ivy Station represented a pinnacle accomplishment.

"Thank you, dear God. I got wobbly in the race and came home exhausted, but I had a wonderful time. I have to do this again next year," said Esther Pobre, 87, the oldest registered runner to finish on the red carpet.

"The people around me kept me going. The runners were so happy and helpful--kids, babies in strollers, the music, the costumes, and the people handing out water and treats were so sweet to me. Everyone had a good time," said Pobre.

As Pobre and others pushed themselves to surpass personal records or complete their inaugural race, Culver City Police Chief Jason Sims encouraged a more competitive spirit.

"When you see many of our officers and other department employees running and competing in this amazing event, make sure you greet them and do your best to beat them," said Sims during opening ceremonies.

His prediction that the vintage Culver City police car, operated by retired Culver City Building Maintenance Supervisor Steve Newton, would outgain the Culver City Firefighters on their unstable five-seat bike in the charity race to the downtown fire station was a safe bet.

"In deference to our fine brothers and sisters from the fire department, I am confident we'll take this one," Sims said.

"We were able to walk the bike after a catastrophic failure in the rear wheel that morning. We will be ready next time," said Battalion Chief Rob Kohlhepp.

"I wish I had a little more competition," said Newton with a smile.

Even the Ghostbusters and the Star Wars Stormtroopers repelled challengers.

"A large group of PacMan ghosts were running behind me, and when the crowd of runners chanted "Ghostbusters," the ghosts squealed and sprinted to evade the Ghostbusters," said Tashia Maureen.

The Stormtroopers deflected a bug army of Culver City-filmed movie Starship Troopers.

Screenland 5K bragging rights began the day earlier during packet pickup at Ivy Station when Culver City Rotary Foundation President Keith Jones edged Culver City Council PTA Executive Vice President Megan Oddsen to win the Celebrity Trike Challenge.

Robert Noriega

The Farragut Fox leads the way in the Munchkin Dash.

The trike race followed the Olympic Torch Relay led by Mayor Yasmine Imani McMorrin, Grand Marshall Paul Jacobs, and other local heroes including senior Olympic champion long jumper John Kuechle, National Senior Games Volleyball gold medalist Dannie Cavanaugh, Marathon walker gold medalist Sandy Checel, International marathon medalist Dylan Bourne, Chamber of Commerce Committee Chairperson Britta Erikkson, Culver City Police Detective Steve Badour, Culver Palms YMCA Executive Director Lori Siegal, Culver City Sister City Board Chairperson Kimberly Griffin, Councilmember Freddy Puza, Vice Mayor Dan O'Brien, Culver City Arts Foundation President Jim Clarke, Rotary Club President Heather "I Love Lucy" Witt, and Culver City Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commissioner Jane (Almira Gulch) Leonard.

Following the 5K race, Puza outfitted in pinstripes, and Culver City Board of Education President Kelly Kent-Marin, Vice President Tristan Ezidore, and member Brian Guerrero garbed as a pinata, jogged alongside some 300 future movie stars in the Munchkin Dash.

Board of Education member Stephanie Laredo, her daughter

Raelie and Walk n' Rollers trainers were among dozens of early risers who "crashed" the course before the race. Raelie, Culver City High School Sophomore Class President, was among 150 volunteers who assisted race weekend.

 

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