The plans for the Will Rogers 5/10K 43rd Annual Race were in place in March. The T-shirts were ordered.
The L.A. Marathon was run and then the County of L.A. shut down because Covid-19 had started its inroads into communities.
There was hope that the virus would be under control in a couple of months, and the Fourth of July race in Pacific Palisades, which starts early in the morning by the library, travels through the Huntington Palisades, onto Sunset Boulevard and then through Will Rogers State Park, would still happen.
Instead, everything was closed on the Fourth, including the race, the parade, the fireworks and even the beaches.
If you’re the race committee, what do you do with about 3,000 shirts (adult and kids)?
The committee offered them for sale to anyone in town that wanted to purchase one. There were still a “few” left.
In August the committee gave them to the parade’s honorary parade marshals: The Fireman at Stations 23 and 69.
The parade organizing committee (Palisades Americanism Parade Association) tried to uphold normalcy with a theme “Celebrating a Different Kind of 4th,” a house decorating contest, a bike contest and naming an honorary parade marshal.
The Fire Captains and personnel from Fire Stations 23 and 69 were selected as the honorary parade marshals.
The 54 men/women who work at the stations in Pacific Palisades, are generally on call during the race, parade and fireworks, so this was the perfect way — and year — to honor them.
“We usually cheer the runners on,” said firefighter Sal Castellion, who has worked here eight years. “I got a shirt and it’s not like it was cheating that I didn’t run.”
“It was an honor that we were chosen as parade marshals,” said Captain Paul Egizi, who told Will Rogers Race Founder Brian Shea, “We appreciated that you guys thought of us.”
Next, the committee decided that other Covid-19 essential workers should receive a shirt, and the Will Rogers Foundation, led by Pat Peters distributed shirts to grocery story workers and Postal Office employees.
In September, about 200 shirts were given to Gelson’s Market, about 200 to Ralphs and Vons received about 100. The Palisades Post Office received about 100 shirts for its employees.
“The Race Shirts are going to a well-deserved group of people who helped out during these troubled times and are here for the 4th of July ever year,” Shea said. “God Bless them.”
Shea said that the Remainder of the Race Shirts went to Saint John’s Hospital ( The 5/10K Will Rogers Race Title Sponsor) to be distributed to the employees of the hospital.
Additionally, the Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services (non-profit 501(c)3), which serves more than 500 at-risk youth and their families, was the recipient of race shirts. (oyhfs.org)
This nonprofit operates a 24-hour residential-care STRTP (Short Term Residential Treatment Program) with the main facility for 85 boys in Highland Park, and Pacific Lodge Youth Services, a 51 bed ten-acre campus in Woodland Hills. The agency also operates two community based STRTP’s that care for six boys each and two community based STRTP’s for six girls each; a Resource Family Agency with 60 children in foster family homes; a Temporary Shelter Care Facility, and a variety of Mental Health programs, many of which are community based.
Shea said, “Thank you all for helping with this endeavor. . .Thanks to all.”