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Promoter Pulling 10-K Race Out of Redondo Beach

October 08, 1987|KAREN ROEBUCK | Times Staff Writer

Runners planning to participate in the 10th Annual Super Bowl Sunday 10-K Run may have to run more like 35 kilometers to be sure they're really in the nationally renowned event.

Hans Albrecht, who has promoted the event since its inception, announced this week that he is moving it to Long Beach for the 1988 Super Bowl.

"It's kind of like Al Davis moving the Raiders," he said.

But the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce, which has been host of the race for the past nine years in that city, will continue to stage a 10-K race, according to Ernie O'Dell, executive director of the chamber.

Albrecht and the chamber, who have had problems involving the race in recent years, are arguing over who owns the event and its name.

The race has been billed as the largest of its kind west of the Mississippi River and as the nation's largest pre-game party. In recent years the race has drawn about 20,000 runners, some of whom have run in costume.

Albrecht said he is moving because the chamber missed a July 1 deadline for getting city approval to hold the race.

However, O'Dell said the chamber had not met the deadline in recent years and it had not been a problem. The chamber gets $20,000 from the event, which is 10% of its annual budget.

Redondo Beach city officials credit Albrecht with much of the race's success and fear that his departure from the local event, as well as having the races in such close proximity, will detract from participation and prestige in both cities.

Albrecht said that doesn't worry him. "It may sound a little egotistical, but I'm confident the runners will go with me. There may be some confusion the first year, but there will be no doubt which is the better race."

Sorry to See It Go

Assistant City Manager Ray Griest called the race "a real first-class event (that) has brought recognition to the city of Redondo Beach. . . . We'll be sorry to see it go to Long Beach if that's what occurs."

" . . . Our initial reaction is that we're unhappy with their leaving," he added. "What we do next year, I guess, depends on the run that the chamber is planning--if that ever comes off."

O'Dell said this week that the Redondo Beach chamber will definitely host a 10-K run Jan. 31. The chamber was to have completed its contract with another promoter by late Wednesday, he said. Albrecht told chamber officials in late July that he would not promote the race because they had failed to get city approval by the contract deadline.

O'Dell said the approvals for the three previous races were not given until August or September and that had never caused any problems, despite the contract clause. City officials said they did not know of the deadline or the approval would have been given earlier.

"The agreement is an agreement," O'Dell said, "and if he feels he doesn't want to do the event anymore, that left him an out. . . . It shows he must have been dissatisfied with something."

Final Approval Pending

Long Beach has not given Albrecht final approval to stage a race in that city yet, according to Long Beach Administrative Assistant Jo Ann Burns. The race has "conceptual approval" and final approval should be no problem, she said.

Albrecht said he believes he can offer runners a "bigger and better" race in Long Beach. "It's Long Beach's 100th anniversary and it's our 10th; I think the two kind of go together," Albrecht said.

He said the deadline was important because he needed to know whether the Redondo Beach race had city approval so he could organize it and line up sponsors. The race is funded by participant entry fees, which were $12 in 1987, and by sponsors--such as British Caledonian Airways, American Savings & Loan and the King Harbor Assn.--who pay to have their names associated with the race.

Redondo Beach "has been real easy to work with," Albrecht said. "The chamber has not been as easy to work with. They're probably one of the most difficult organizations I've worked with in the country."

Albrecht's problems with the Chamber of Commerce have reportedly been building for the past four years and range from financial to organizational to communication difficulties. Neither Albrecht nor O'Dell would discuss the problems in detail. The race was first run in 1979 to benefit the chamber and has become its largest fund-raiser.

Lack of Communication

"There was perhaps a lack of proper communication and just some things we would like to have seen handled a little differently--complaints, things like that from the runners," O'Dell said.

The chamber is paid a fee for each runner, but until the 1987 race, the chamber did not get independent verification of the numbers, he said. "Any business where two parties are paid a portion of the total, both parties should be aware of the total and that's normal business acumen," he said.

Albrecht said he made less money on the event than the chamber, despite doing most of the work. He said the Redondo Beach run costs about $120,000 to stage.

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