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On a picturesque, sun-splashed morning, more than 2,000 runners hit the oceanfront streets of Santa Monica in support of The McCourt Foundation’s mission to build a healthier world at the 2021 Santa Monica Classic 5k & 10k.
In 2020, the pandemic prevented the event from taking place in person. Instead, it was modified into a virtual race where participants ran independently and submitted their results online. On Sunday, though, Ocean Boulevard was filled with runners and people on the sidelines showing support with waves crashing below.
It was a New England sweep in the 5k, with Providence College alum Corey Burnell and Boston-native Allison Frasier taking home top honors with a time of 15:32 and 17:58, respectively.
“This was my first 5k in two years because of the pandemic,” said Fraiser, who recently moved from Boston to Venice Beach and runs locally with the Good Vibes Track Club. “It was a beautiful race, a flat and fast course, it was nice and cool starting in the morning, a really great atmosphere. It’s been a long time since I’ve won a race and it feels amazing.”
Santa Monica local Eric Bowls was the men’s winner in the accompanying 10k distance with a time of 33.11. Elizabeth Ben-Ishai of Pasadena was the top woman to cross the 10k finish line, winning with a time of 37 minutes and 23 seconds. It was each of the winner’s first time competing in the event.
“I’ve lived in Santa Monica for 13 years and I’ve never gotten around to doing it. It was great to race, a perfect day,” said Bowels, who is training for next month’s Chicago Marathon. “I just tried to run my pace, nice and smooth. Everything was really well organized and there was a lot of good energy. I would definitely recommend it.”
Race day also included the Surfer Shuffle Kids Run. All distances finished just steps away from the world-famous Santa Monica Pier. The festivities continued throughout the morning at the post-race Finish Festival on the Pier with product demos by ASICS and Volvo and runner giveaways from Big 5 Sporting Goods.
The event featured numerous runners raising money and awareness for charities. Team TMF, which supports education and research for neurological diseases and other health causes, offered a huge presence of runners making a difference to build a healthier world.
The Santa Monica Classic was the first leg of the Conquer LA Challenge. The next race in the series will be the Rose Bowl Half Marathon on Sunday, September 26, about six weeks before the rescheduled Los Angeles Marathon presented by ASICS which will take place for the first time in the fall on Sunday, November 7.