The 14th annual Keep LA Running charity 5k/10k run, 5k walk, and 10/20 mile Coastal Bike Cruise returns to the local area Sunday morning, July 15th, at Dockweiler Beach, 12000 Vista del Mar, Playa del Rey.

First on the agenda of the Keep LA Running event is the 10/20-mile coastal bike cruise, which starts at 7:30 a.m. and follows a course on the nearby bike paths and along the ocean. The 5k/10k run will begin at 8 a.m. The event concludes with its Kids Fun Run, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

The distance running event has raised about $800,000 for its various beneficiary charities through its 13 years, according to organizers.

Organizers say that the race is planned along a flat course overlooking the ocean and that this year’s event will feature a Beach BBQ along the ocean shore where Imperial Highway hits the beach in Playa Del Rey.

Keep LA Running began as a way to fill the coffers of the Service Employees International Union Local 660 Los Angeles County Special District Employees Disaster Relief Fund, but now also benefits other groups, including the Pediatric Oncology Ward, Women’s and Children’s Hospital of LAC+USC Medical Center; the American Cancer Society; and the Rosa Parks Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit Continuing Care Unit at Harbor-Drew Medical Center.

The Los Angeles County/Special District Employee Disaster Relief Fund was established in 1994 by the Los Angeles County Employees Association (LACEA), which represents about 55,000 county and special district members. Los Angeles County employees provide public services during and after disasters such as floods, fires, earthquakes and civil unrest.

The event has been successful in attracting the participation of track and field legends throughout the year.

This year, Joan Benoit Samuelson, the only American woman ever to win the Olympic marathon, returns to the site of her victory, Los Angeles, where she triumphed in the first-ever Olympic marathon for women at the 1984 Olympic Games. Samuelson broke a world record for speed when she won the Chicago Marathon in 1985, a time that is still second fastest by an American woman, 22 years later. Samuelson plans to participate in the race.

Last year’s event featured 90-year-old former Olympian Louie Zamperini as honorary spokesman and starter. Zamperini, representing the United States, participated in the 1936 Olympics held in Nazi Germany.

Other notable track and field athletes who have participated in Keep LA Running include Carl Lewis, Billy Mills, Steve Scott and Johnny Gray.

Other entrants in the 10k include Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine is expected to run the 5k race, where he won his age division last year.

Keep LA Running is intended as a family event, with races designed for both novices and serious runners, organizers say. The Laker Girls (Los Angeles Lakers cheerleaders) will lead the aerobic warm-up and the ChivaGirls will have a booth and will be signing autographs and taking photographs with fans at the event. There will also be sports and entertainment celebrities at the event, including former Angels pitcher David Frost; Nate Hobgood-Chittick, a 2000 Super Bowl champion with the St. Louis Rams; and former Los Angeles Dodger “Sweet Lou” Johnson scheduled to join the festivities.

Also scheduled to show up and lend support to the event are elected officials Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez of California’s 47th Congressional District; Califoria State Senator Gloria Romero, Majority Leader; Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, 41st Assembly District; Assemblyman Ted Lieu, Assembly member, 53rd Assembly District; and Assemblyman Mike Davis, 48th Assembly District.

Information, www.keepla running.com or (310) 546-1888.

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