Runners, cyclists participate in Halloween run, ride

A group dressed as characters from "The Wizard of Oz" nears the finish line after participating at the Finish the Run and Finish the Ride Halloween event in Valencia Heritage Park Sunday. October 31, 2021. Bobby Block / The Signal.
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Donned in their Halloween best, runners approached the starting line at Valencia Heritage Park Sunday for the Finish the Run and Finish the Ride marathon.

Each year, Finish the Ride sends cyclists traversing through the bike paths that criss-cross the Santa Clarita Valley, and this year, Finish the Run 5K and 10Ks were added for those who’d prefer to run or walk, giving everyone from families and beginners to serious cyclists or runners the chance to participate.

Due to it falling on Halloween, participants were encouraged to get in costume, with awards given for the best costumes.

Volunteers hand out t-shirts at the Finish the Run and Finish the Ride Halloween event at Valencia Heritage Park Sunday. October 31, 2021. Bobby Block / The Signal.
Shayn Garron crosses the finish line after completing a 5K run in costume at the Finish the Run and Finish the Ride Halloween event in Valencia Heritage Park Sunday. October 31, 2021. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Sunday’s event was an exciting one for avid runner Whitney Russell, as it was her first 10K since the pandemic.

“There’s no better feeling than getting together with the local running community — I missed this,” the Santa Clarita resident said. “Plus, Halloween is my favorite, so I went all out and made sure my friends would be getting in the spirit, too.”

All dressed as athletes, Russell and her group of friends said they were “living out their fantasy lives as Olympians.”

Doug Davis puts on a medal won after completing a 5K run at the Finish the Run Finish The Ride Halloween event in Valencia Sunday. October 31, 2021. Bobby Block / The Signal.

“We all continued running together during the pandemic, but there’s no better feeling than getting to come out and compete with one another on a larger scale,” added Valencia resident Paula Denner.

Finish The Ride was started by cyclist Damian Kevitt after he was nearly killed while riding in Griffith Park in 2013 as a movement for safer streets for cyclists.

And it’s a movement that Tim Kenneth also holds dear to his heart, as a fellow cyclist and his best friend was severely injured while cycling in the SCV.

Kassidy Vargas, left, and Nicholas Raigoa, right, cross the finish line after completing a 5K run in costume at the Finish the Run and Finish the Ride Halloween event in Valencia Heritage Park Sunday. October 31, 2021. Bobby Block / The Signal.
Volunteers hand out medallions at the Finish the Run and Finish the Ride Halloween event at Valencia Heritage Park Sunday. October 31, 2021. Bobby Block / The Signal.

“I’m out here today to support my buddy, along with all the other local cyclists,” Kenneth said, gesturing toward the group preparing for the 25 Mile Tour de River. “Distracted driving is a huge problem, so any way I can help spread awareness, I’m going to get behind.”

Finish the Run and Finish the Ride supports Streets Are For Everyone, or SAFE, a nonprofit that strives to reduce traffic-caused fatalities to zero for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers alike.

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