Randy Angel

4th of July off to a running start

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Thousands begin their Independence Day festivities by participating in the Village Runner 4th of July 5K Run/Walk. Photo by Randy

Thousands begin their Independence Day festivities by participating in the Village Runner 4th of July 5K Run/Walk. Photo by Randy

Hours before grills are heated and sites picked out to view displays of fireworks, thousands of participants begin their Independence Day festivities by completing a 3.1-mile course on the streets of Redondo Beach.

With many entrants and spectators clad in red, white and blue, the Village Runner 4th of July 5K Run/Community Walk and Firecracker 5K will celebrate its 20th year when the starting gun sounds at 8 a.m., Thursday, July 4 in Riviera Village.

Patriotic costumes will be recognized by judges at this year’s Costume Contest prior to the race. Photo by Randy Angel

Patriotic costumes will be recognized by judges at this year’s Costume Contest prior to the race. Photo by Randy Angel

“I love the 4th of July and I love running so I thought it would be a perfect day for a 5K Run,” said race director and Village Runner owner Mike Ward. “I think that many runners would agree. The 4th of July 5K is a perfect way to start your celebrations.”

This year’s event includes new sponsors Land Rover South Bay, RemedyPharm and Providence Little Company of Mary and features a two-day expo, costume contest and parade of the previous men’s and women’s winners.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Redondo Beach Firefighters Association and local area schools. All participants will receive a 4th of July Run T-shirt and there is chip timing, age division awards and cash prizes to the top three overall male and female runners in the 5K run.

Aaron Sharp, of Port Hueneme is the defending champion. His time of 14 minutes, 45.43 seconds marked the fastest time in the Village Runner 4th of July 5K in over five years.

The first female to cross the finish line in 2012 was Tanya Zeferjahn, of San Clemente, who used her long strides to post a time of 16:48.6.

Registration is ongoing with early registration prices for adults and kids running the 5K at $30 (add $5 after June 27).

For additional information and registration, visit villagerunner.com.

Other popular local running events:

The Manhattan Beach 5k

May 27

This race, formerly known as the Solstice Run and organized by former Olympian Jeff Atkinson, is held on the morning of the year’s lowest tide, creating a wide, flat, fast, out-and-back course on hard packed sand. It begins at 7:13 a.m., timed with the tide. See mb5k.com

The 18th Grand View Gator 5K Run/Walk

June 1

From competitive runners to weekend warriors to casual walkers, hundreds participate in the Annual Murad Grand View Gator 5K, raising funds for the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation. See gvpta.com

The 9th Annual Redondo Beach Triathlon

June 9

The sprint triathlon consists of a 1/2-mile swim, 6-mile bike and 2-mile run. Mini-sprints (half the distance) are also offered. For more information, see rbtriathlon.com

The GI Joe Summer Pier-2-Pier run

July 13

Joe Charles, aka GI Joe, has hosted the event for the past 13 years. The Hermosa Beach Community Center has partnered with GI Joe Boot Camp to offer this approximately four mile “trip in the sand” – almost a mile more than a traditional 5k route. See mbbootcamp.com.