Our 6th Annual Finish The Ride and Finish The Run was a success!! The rainy early morning did not stop many from attending and having a blast despite the weather. It cleared up early and ended up being a beautiful day!
The event drew 800+ individuals from other states and as far away as China... all in support of saving lives and making safer streets and healthier communities. One proud finisher was from China and did not speak or read a word of English, he finished our half marathon with a smile on his face and no problems at all! That's finishing the run! How cool is that?
Another rider, Michael, is a kidney transplant survivor who decided to do his first 20 mile ride since his transplant. At mile 11, just when he was about to give up, Michael ran into another rider, Art, who supported him, encouraged and stayed with him all the way to the finish! That's what Finish The Ride is all about ... finish that ride or run, whatever that means to you. Here's a photo of the two of them at the finish. Smiles all around.
This year brought us to a new location in Griffith Park -- Crystal Springs! It was our first year here, but one thing that didn't change was our continued partnership with Walk N' Rollers. This was their third year as partner in this Griffith Park event. Walk N' Rollers has a mission of empowering school age children and their parents through education and training to safely and responsibly bike, walk, skate and scoot to and from school. To learn more about Walk N' Rollers, visit www.walkmorebikemore.org.
Activities included 4 rides ranging from a 9 mile Family Fun Ride/Roll to a grueling and challenging Half Century ride with close to 4,000 feet of elevation gain, runs from a 5K to a hilly and challenging Half Marathon on the trails around beautiful Griffith Park. The LAPD even provided escorts for our 9 mile ride.
Our opening ceremony included:
Two special guests joined us to speak:
- Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell, who spoke about how much he supports SAFE and Finish The Ride and its important impact on the city of Los Angeles. "Damian inspires me every day in my job and life." -- Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell
Keith Jackson made one of his first public speaking appearances since the tragic hit and run crime which nearly killed him and left him in a coma for weeks in 2017. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and it left him with other physical challenges that he struggles with to this day and some he will have to deal with for the rest of his life. To read more about Keith's story and how SAFE helped him along the way, check out this link and this link.
Next up to speak was Marcus Kowal of Liam's Life Foundation. In 2016, Marcus' life was changed forever when his 15 month old son, Liam, was killed by a drunk driver in a crosswalk near his home. "I ran down Hawthorne Boulevard in the middle of the road to find my son's stroller in two pieces and my son's little green frog just lying on the ground.... I have never felt more pain. Nothing comes even remotely close to this. Nothing." -- Marcus Kowal.
Since losing Liam, Marcus and his wife, Mischel, have joined us in the fight to save lives and stop these tragic deaths. Marcus not only of the loss of his son, but of his foundation's efforts to lower the legal blood alcohol content in California from 0.08 to 0.05. You can read about Marcus' story and how you can help here.
As the sun broke through the clouds on what turned out to be a beautiful day, the atmosphere was festive with people dancing and cheering people on at the finish line. A live band, raffle and food greeted participants back at the park.
THANK YOU to all who braved the weather and attended in support!! It's thanks to you that we can continue our all important work in the city of Los Angeles and beyond. Also, thanks goes out to all our volunteers, we literally could not do it without you.
Also, a LARGE thank you to our TOP SPONSORS!!
Adventist Health Glendale - They continue to #livetheirAHmission by supporting our event for the 2nd year in a row and helping to save lives! www.adventisthealth.org/glendale
Pocrass and DeLosReyes - Supporting Finish The Ride and Streets Are For Everyone since its origin in 2014. We truly could not continue our work without them. Make sure you check out their website www.pocrass.com and stop by at the next event.
Other sponsors and supporters include:
New York Life
Run With Us
Atom Composites, Inc.
Liam's Life Foundation
Performance Endurance Gear
Road Runner Sports
For more information and background on our Finish The Ride events, check out www.FinishTheRide.org.
To order your photos, visit www.photocrazy.com.
YOU CAN REGISTER NOW FOR FINISH THE RIDE SANTA CLARITA, OCTOBER 27th AT www.FinishTheRide.org/ftr-santa-clarita.