LA84 Hosts Nearly 1,000 Youth at Season-Ending Run4Fun Festival 2K Race

Nearly 1,000 Los Angeles area middle-schoolers ran a two-kilometer race at the 2016 LA84 Run4Fun Festival at the scenic Elysian Park on Saturday, December 10. Students from across the Los Angeles area, from the West Valley to Orange County, competed in one of six races, one for each gender and for grades 6, 7, and 8.

The event kicked off with a speech from LA84 Foundation & CEO Renata Simril, who praised the racers for their hard work in training since October for the race. Sam the Eagle, the official mascot of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, announced the start of the opening race, the Girls’ 6th Grade competition. On a foggy morning, the athletes ran a deceptively tough course that started out as a downhill, but had a final ascent to the finish line. 2016 was the second year Run4Fun was hosted at Elysian Park, with 2015 being the inaugural race.

LA84’s Run4Fun program spans 10 weeks during the fall and introduces middle-schoolers to distance running while providing coaches with benchmarks and drills to teach their students the values and benefits of running.

“It taught me to be disciplined and how to be a leader, and now I can pass it on,” Global Education Academy Middle School Coach Miguel Medel said. Medel, who participated in the Run4Fun Program for three years in the mid-1990’s, saw one of his athletes break his two-kilometer record on Saturday. “What I’m teaching them here, I want them to use it outside and in their lifestyles.”

The Run4Fun Program has been a staple of LA84 Foundation programming since its inception in 1987. 2016 marked the 28th edition of the Run4Fun Festival, with multiple generations of Angelenos staying fit and experiencing the incredible benefits of distance running, both on and off the course.

“It feels so good to have all your hard work pay off,” said Eider Martinez, who won the 8th-grade race and had the fastest time of the day at 6 minutes, 19 seconds. “Being an eighth-grader can be hard. But when I’m running, everything just feels better.”

LA84 also offers swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming through its Summer Swim program, and multiple other sports through its partnership with LAUSD’s Beyond The Bell program. “Running is the focus for now, but it’s so valuable since you’ll need it for every sport LA84 has to offer,” Medel added.

See more content and photos from the race below and on LA84’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Race Results

Boys 8th Grade

Individual Winner: Eider Martinez, Global MS, 6:20.1

Team Winner: Frost MS

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Girls 8th Grade

Individual Winner: Ariana Rodriguez, Frost MS, 7:15.7

Team Winner: Frost MS

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Boys 7th Grade

Individual Winner: Bryce Bitetti, Rosemont MS, 6:41.4

Team Winner: Rosemont MS

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Girls 7th Grade

Individual Winner: Frieda Cedillo, Frost MS, 7:02.8

Team Winner: Frost MS

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Boys 6th Grade

Individual Winner: Isaac Gonzalez, Porter MS, 7:15.3

Team Winner: Bell Gardens MS

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Girls 6th Grade

Individual Winner: Milan Paniagua, Frost MS, 7:34.1

Team Winner: Frost MS

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