Sold out Independence Day 5K/10K celebrates 36th run

Katharine Lotze/Signal

For the first time in its 36-year run, the Santa Clarita Runners Club sold out tickets for its Independence Day 5K and 10K Run/Walk.

More than 1,000 participants showed up to Newhall Park to take home medals, according to race director Carl Pantoji. The proceeds from the race benefited local schools’ running programs.

The 10K race began at 7 a.m., while the 5K race and walk started at 8 a.m. A separate kid’s run also began at 7:45 a.m.

For the 10K, Alexander Cantu, 18, took first place with a time of 34 minutes, 5 seconds. In second place was Lee Carlisle, 34, with 36 minutes, 51 seconds; followed by Javier Gonzalez, 41, who finished at 37 minutes and 53 seconds.

For the 5K, Oscar Orozco, 30, finished in 15 minutes, 32 seconds. Chris Verdugo, 16, finished second with 15 minutes, 39 seconds; while Benito Rojas, 44, finished with 17 minutes, 1 second.

The proceeds, once totaled, will go to all six of the Santa Clarita Valley’s high school cross country programs, Pantoji said.

“We’re very excited because of the sellout and attendance,” Pantoji said. “Last year, we gave $2,800 to each high school. This year, we plan to do the same.”

A portion of proceeds would also go to the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, Pantoji said, with last year’s total coming out at $1,500.

This year’s event offered a free T-shirt, a post-race smoothie, a free download picture and a finisher’s medal for all participants.

“People participate because this is a fun community event that draws the best runners from our valley, and some strong runners from other communities too,” Pantoji said. “But you don’t need to be an experienced cross country runner to have a good time, or even to win.”

The complete list of winners for the race is available on

The Santa Clarita Runners Club has more than 200 members who meet four times a week for group runs.

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