By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
Not even a global pandemic could conquer the Pacific Palisades Turkey Trot powered by Exela. The local 5K and 10K race returned last Thanksgiving following a two-year hiatus, and LA Rams stadium announcer and Marquez Knolls resident Sam Laganà was the emcee.
Helping Laganà count down from 10 to one to start the race were Corpus Christi School second-graders Emily Dimartini, Milli McKenna and Audrey Going. The national anthem was sung by Coco Kennedy, a Corpus Christi and Marymount High graduate who was enjoying her freshman year at University of Texas.
Local residents have embraced the holiday race since its debut run 2013 and the ninth edition, which will be held on November 23, is expected to draw 2,000 participants—many of them who live, work or go to school in the Palisades. The courses remain the same as in years past, and race history reveals local runners have enjoyed a fair share of success in their hometown race.
The 5K course weaves through El Medio Bluffs while the 10K (the equivalent of 6.2 miles) continues down Temescal Canyon Road to Will Rogers State Beach and back. Both races start and end at the 50-yard line on the Palisades Charter High School football field. Run by the O’Connell and Houston families, who launched the inaugural race 10 years ago, the 2023 event could have the largest field yet.
“We’re beyond excited to be able to keep our healthy tradition of kicking off the holiday season in style here in the Palisades,” founder David O’Connell said. “The entire goal of this event has been to gather together friends and family to burn some calories in a fun setting before a long weekend of celebrating. The response from the community has been incredible and so far our signups are far outpacing years past. So, we’re looking forward to another fantastic event and praying for our gorgeous Southern California weather.”
Returning sponsors include Exela Technologies and Palisades Village, which will coordinate the packet pick-up. Other partners include HUB International and ORO Capital Advisors. This year’s event will benefit local Los Angeles Fire Department Stations 69 and 23 as well as Friendship Circle Pacific Palisades.
The 5K and 10K will start simultaneously at 8:15 a.m. on the Pali High track. Medals will be awarded to top three overall finishers in both races as well as the three best boys and girls in the 9-and-under, 10-12, 13-15 and 16-17 age groups.
Past winners hailing from the Palisades include lifelong resident Sonaali Pandiri, the women’s 5K champion in 2013 with a time of 20:48; Calvary Church of Pacific Palisades Pastor Ramin Razavi, who won the men’s 5K in 2016 in 16:30 days after moving to El Medio Bluffs; 2018 and 2019 men’s 10K winner Ken Rideout of the Highlands; Alphabet Streets mom Gwendolen Twist, winner of the women’s 5K in 2019; and last year’s women’s 10K champion Charlotte Kane, who resides near the Village and clocked 43:41.
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