Zest for Life 5K Run/Walk and Kids Fun Run 1 Mile at Balloon Festival

July 23, 2010
Santa Paula News

What is destined to become one of the Citrus Classic Balloon Festival’s most popular events is the Zest for Life 5K Run/Walk and Kids Fun Run 1 Mile, a featured attraction of this year’s event that draws thousands of people who love hot air balloons and having fun.

And Zest for Life will benefit two causes held dear to the hearts of Santa Paula residents: the Santa Paula High School Track Team and Santa Paula Hospital.

The 3rd Annual Citrus Classic Balloon Festival will be held July 30 - July 31 at the Limoneira Soccer Fields. This nonprofit event, already one of the most popular in Southern California, is part of the Santa Paula Community Fund.

According to Balloon Festival Founder/Coordinator Carla Edwards, Saturday’s premier Zest for Life runs add another dimension to the festival, “a healthy lifestyle and more family fun... a hallmark of our annual classic!” The Zest for Life runs are a perfect way to kick off the 3rd annual festival’s second day by being active with this scenic cross-country 5K winding through citrus groves, past rolling hills and red barns.

The route is a fast country road, mostly packed dirt and flat, with some asphalt, loose gravel and two slight inclines. Start and Finish Lines are within view of the festival grounds and - to add to the fun - the rain or shine race will be announced from the Citrus Classic PA system.

Gates open as early as 5 a.m. for spectators eager to see the Sunrise Balloons; pilots will prep their hot air beauties starting at 5:45 a.m., then ascend into the skies - weather permitting - at approximately 6:30 a.m. for the Hare & Hound Race. If the balloons do not ascend, they will be inflated and tethered on the festival grounds.

Edwards said as a bonus, registered runners are welcome to enjoy the morning attractions at the Citrus Classic at no extra charge, to “mingle with pilots and enjoy the hot air balloons and breakfast” available from food vendors. Post-run, refreshments and live music are also available at no charge in the Pilots’ Breakfast Tailgate, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Edwards said the SPHS Track Team members are looking forward to the Zest for Life for many reasons. “When I asked member Fabian Amezeuca what the Track Team would do with the Zest For Life’s donation to the team, he go very enthusiastic,” as proceeds would help the team attend an additional meet next year by funding bus transportation. “Fabian said proceeds could also be used to repair the shot putting cage, or for starter mats... it seemed,” noted Edwards, “like a long list!”

When asked why the track team had volunteered to help develop and organize the run, Hank Almanza told Edwards, “The team’s friends and families don’t usually get to attend their meets as SPHS doesn’t host,” due to facility shortfalls. “So our Zest for Life run would be the first time many of the family members could see their kids run, especially touching,” noted Edwards, “given that the team won a championship title last year.”

Benefit 5K Run for Santa Paula Hospital reflects another cause important to residents throughout the Santa Clara River Valley. According to Sheila Murphy of the Ventura County Healthcare Agency, “Santa Paula is an acute care, 49 bed general hospital providing compassionate care to all river valley residents. When you need critical medical care, whether a surgery, laboratory work, bringing a new life into the world, or those unexpected events that sometimes come our way, you can trust your neighborhood hospital to be here for you.”

Santa Paula Hospital, a campus of Ventura County Medical Center, serves the communities of Santa Paula, Fillmore, Piru, Saticoy, Ventura and Ojai, and offers a comprehensive list of inpatient and outpatient services and full-service departments for diagnostic procedure, treatment, aftercare, and ongoing care.

The Zest For Life 5K Run/Walk will start soon after the hot air balloons have flown out of sight, at 8 a.m. Runners must be signed in by 7:30 a.m. and in location at the Starting Line no later than 7:50 a.m. for the 8 a.m. start.

The Kids Fun Run covers 1 mile of the same course, and will begin at 9:30 a.m. Participants must be signed in by 9 a.m. and in location at the Starting Line no later than 9:15 a.m. for the 9:30 a.m. start.

Prizes will be awarded on stage at 10:30 am. Recipients must be present to receive prizes.

The Zest For Life 5K course is located immediately adjacent to, and within sight of, the balloon arena. Follow “Start Line” signs at left of festival gates to registration tents and race entry underneath the palm-lined drive.

Registration Fees are $25 Pre-Registered 5K (walk-in deadline is 7:30 a.m. and $30 on Race-Day), and $10 Pre-Registered Fun Run (walk-in deadline 9 a.m. and $10 on Race-Day). The deadline for online registration (www.citrusclassicballoons.com) is Tuesday, July 27 at 12 p.m.

There will be 1st and 2nd place prizes awarded in runner categories 18 and younger, 19-39 years old, and “Masters” 40 and older to 69. Those 70 and older, as well as the Kids Fun Run contestants, will also compete for 1st Place prizes, but in the kids category each participant goes home with a prize!

The 3rd Annual Citrus Classic Balloon Festival is held at 18249 E. Telegraph Road, Santa Paula. There is no on-site parking, but plenty of parking nearby and shuttle service to the festival site.

For more information visit www.citrusclassicballoons.com.



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