The 33rd running of the annual race, set to begin at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, April 27, will feature thousands of runners negotiating the grueling, partly uphill 13-mile trek from Del Mar Fairgrounds to La Jolla Cove.
Begun in 1981 as a fundraiser for the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla, the race has grown into one of the more prestigious in the country, with scores of runners descending on La Jolla the last Sunday in April to participate.
Contestants will enjoy unparalleled coastal vistas throughout the course, perhaps a reward for climbing the challenging hills, including the steep, harrowing trudge through Torrey Pines State Park.
The half marathon has also evolved into the largest annual fundraising event for the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla. Proceeds come back to the community in the form of scholarships, grants to school music programs, support for veterans programs and supplementary funding for the Meals-on-Wheels program, to name a few.
“It is through these activities that the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla embraces and acts upon the tenets of community, family and fellowship,” Kiwanis spokesman Henry Chiu said. “All this is made possible by you, our generous neighbors in La Jolla, and we thank you.”
For those seeking a less demanding Sunday morning, the La Jolla Shores 5K offers similarly picturesque vistas en route from La Jolla Shores Beach to Scripps Park. Although registration for the half marathon is closed, last-minute participants can still register for the 5K.
Medals will be awarded to the top five finishers in each age class, with championship trophies awarded to the first open-division male and female finishers overall. The awards ceremony will take place at the finish line at Scripps Park at 10 a.m. To add to the celebratory atmosphere, a beer garden will also be open at 10 a.m. for guests and participants 21 and older.
As with all public sports events, the half-marathon will bring a certain level of inconvenience to the community. On race morning, some streets will be closed off from 5 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
“We do appreciate all the help and understanding afforded us by our neighbors,” said Chiu. “This year at the finish area (Ellen Browning Scripps Park) at the Cove we will feature some rather interesting vendors.”
Kiwanis is a non-denominational, non-sectarian service organization with the mission to serve the children of the world.
For more information about the Half Marathon, visit lajollahalfmarathon.com or call (858) 454-0777.
For more information about the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla, or to arrange for a visit to the club’s weekly meeting on Friday at La Jolla Presbyterian Church, email Henry@ljpb.biz or call (858) 454-1239.