LA Big 5K and ASICS LA Marathon 2020 was a challenging event for all participants. Fears of the coronavirus downgraded the usual greeting of hugs and handshakes into elbows and fist bumps; still, the spirits of the participants were high and the crowds were large. Over 22 family members and friends showed their support for our fallen members during the 5k event on Saturday, March 7. Sunday’s marathon had a total of 14 participants who represented the Relief Association as they ran from Dodger Stadium to the shores of Santa Monica. Great job to all who gave their best, running the 3.1 to 26.2 miles in memory of those we have lost. Dave Moorman, Cecil Morris, Glen Phillips, and Peter Varnum of Los Angeles City Fire were represented, along with Culver City Fire’s Jesse Luna and Mike Nagy. Runners navigated the courses that started at Dodger Stadium to raise money for the Windows, Orphans & Disabled Firefighters Fund. As of this printing, over $14,000 was raised during the event.
Relief President Jeff Cawdrey and his wife, Gina, along with Joe and Diane Vigil pounded the pavement with the family of the fallen in support. Captain Miguel Meza, Patricia Arias and Chris Bustamante stepped up and recruited, organized, and supervised members from our Cadet Program, who cheered on the runners and represented the LAFD with honor. Thank you to the Captains and Cadets for your dedication and commitment in helping the Relief Association make the event a success. Also, a shout out to the members of the Department who were on duty that day lining the route of the events. Your presence is always of great importance to us and a great crowd pleaser for the public.
Although, the crowds prevented blistering speed for the racer, the event was more about camaraderie than competition within the groups. We’d like to thank all who participated in making this year’s event a success, especially Marlene Casillas and April Hood of the Relief Association for organizing the runners and setting up the booth at the stadium. Also, many thanks to Derek Vehling and his family for donating their personal time and support to help Marlene and April check in the participants.
Though our friends and family members are no longer with us, they live on in our memories and in our hearts. Events such as these will ensure their contributions to our lives will never be forgotten. We hope you can join us next year to make 2021 an even bigger accomplishment in support of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the citizens of Los Angeles.
Remember, it’s never too early to plan. You may sign up for next year’s race now at GiveToAHero.org/marathon
By John Hicks
Photos by Deborah Lew & John Hicks