John Radich is not your average school crossing guard. He ran his first marathon in 1974 and his first ultra-marathon in 1980. Ultra-marathons are defined as long-distance running longer than a marathon. Since then, he has run 90 marathons and over 100 ultra-marathons, including the Douglas Arizona 6-Day race (where he is the 8-time winner and course record holder), 4,500 km from Athens, Greece to Hamburg, Germany, and over 2,600 miles across America.
As a school crossing guard, John is well familiar with the dangers kids face from speeding drivers around schools. "The number of times I've had to protect a young student from a driver speeding through an intersection, despite my sign, is too many to count."
John’s observations are backed up by national studies, which have found that two-thirds of drivers exceed the posted speed limit in a school zone during the 30 minutes before and after school.[i] Additionally, according to a report from Safe Kids USA, one of every six drivers in school zones is distracted.[ii]
This year Streets Are For Everyone is sponsoring important legislation with California Senator Susan Rubio, Senate Bill 735. SB 735 hopes to make streets around schools safer by using speed safety cameras to enforce the speed limits. Allowed in 41 other states in the United States, speed safety cameras are a proven tool to ensure speeding drivers slow down and help prevent serious injuries and fatalities around schools.
When John heard about SB 735, he immediately wanted to help SAFE spread the word by doing what he does best, running. "I've always wanted to run Route 66 to the Santa Monica Pier, so I decided to run 67 miles, for my 67th birthday, along this historic route to help make the streets safer for the kids I help protect."
Starting in April on the morning of his 67th Birthday, John began his run at San Bernardino City Hall, stopping along the way to hand out information to local people about SB 735 and SAFE.
“There were many people I talked to during the run who want safer streets for their kids and thanked me for bringing attention to SB 735. This kept me inspired during the run.”
By the end, John reached the Pacific Ocean, completing this historic run in only two days.
John is using this run and future runs to support SAFE and our efforts to make schools safer. To donate, go to https://gofund.me/ab013aa9.
His next milestone will be the Badwater Run, billed as the world's toughest footrace. Badwater is a 135-mile race that starts in the Badwater Basis in California's Death Valley and occurs annually in mid-July when the weather conditions are most extreme, and temperatures are over 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Very few people, even among ultra-marathoners, are capable of finishing this grueling race. John Radic has completed it 14 times and will be running this year to support Streets Are For Everyone.
For more information about SB 735 and the effectiveness of speed safety cameras around school zones, check out our previous blogs on https://www.streetsareforeveryone.org/