LA Big 5K Kicks Off Los Angeles Marathon Weekend
LOS ANGELES (November 6, 2021) — The LA Big 5K returned in dramatic fashion as more than 2,000 participants ran or walked the 3.1-mile loop course around Elysian Park amid cool, foggy weather at Dodger Stadium on Saturday morning.
Organized by the McCourt Foundation and sponsored by Big 5 Sporting Goods, the LA Big 5K continued its tradition of providing a family friendly running event the day before the Los Angeles Marathon. For some it provided a final tune-up for Sunday’s 26.2-mile “Stadium to the Stars” marathon course, for others it was an opportunity to run or walk with family and friends.
Typically held in the spring, the LA Big 5K and Los Angeles Marathon were previously run on March 7-8, 2020 before the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the postponement of mass participation events. As one of the biggest running events returning to the Los Angeles area, there was a palpable vibe of positive energy among runners and walkers from start to finish.
“It was very exciting to see so many people out running and walking again,” says Big 5 official Rick Gridley, who greeted runners and handed out finisher medals and awards at the finish line. “At Big 5, we like to think that everyone can start, and the LA Big 5K is a great event for everyone, no matter if you’re a novice runner, an avid runner or an elite runner. There have been a lot of challenges in the past year and a half and everyone here has met the challenge by coming out to run. The McCourt Foundation has done a fabulous job of providing a safe event. We’ve been proud to be a part of the LA Big 5K for 10 years and look forward to being a part of it in the future.”
The LA Big 5K included a diverse range of runners and walkers from the Los Angeles area and around the U.S. Luis Gutierrez of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., was the overall winner of the LA Big 5K in 16:30, followed by Austin Van Biezen (16:36) and Ismael Samano (16:42). Denver's Mary Kate Vaughn (18:08) turned in a dominating performance in the women’s race, winning in 18:08 over runner-up Jacqueline Tierney (19:48) and third-place finisher Leigh Gerson (19:50).
“I’m happy to win it today,” said Gutierrez, 27, who finished eighth in the LA Big 5K race in 2019.. “I was familiar with the course and knew what to expect, so that helped me run faster. It’s nice to get back to competitive racing after the last year or so.”
Vaughn, 23, has been ramping up her training with the hopes of qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in 2024.
“I was really excited to get out here and race,” Vaughn said. “I don’t really like hills, so this provided a good challenge. This race is part of my prep for a marathon in five weeks, so it was nice to see what I could do.”
Jacquelyn Gottlieb, 89, and John Merriam, 81, were the oldest runners in the race, while 4-year-old Matthias Lara (1:11:52) was the youngest.
Los Angeles Dodgers star Justin Turner participated in the LA Big 5K with a group of runners and walkers in support of the Justin Turner Foundation.
The LA Big 5K will return on March 19, 2022, the day before the 2022 Los Angeles Marathon.
For results of this year’s, click here: 2021 LA Big 5K Results