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Super Bowl 10-K Run Moves to L.B.--but Not Without Trouble

October 11, 1987|KAREN ROEBUCK | Times Staff Writer

Super Bowl Sunday will not only have the game pitting the NFL's best, whichever set of players that might be, but it will also have the battle of the Super Bowl 10-K Runs.

Hans Albrecht, who has promoted the Super Bowl 10-K Run in Redondo Beach for the past nine years, said he will move the race to Long Beach, where it will be held in conjunction with the kickoff of the city's centennial celebration.

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

But officials of the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce, which has been the host of the race, say the run is their's and they might go to court to protect the name. The Redondo chamber has hired a new promoter to run their race.

"How can (Albrecht) have a 10th annual event in another city when we've been having the event in this city all of these years and are having it again this year?" asked Ernie O'Dell, the chamber's executive director.

Threat of Countersuit

Albrecht says the race is his and he may file his own lawsuit in order to keep its name.

The Long Beach race, whatever it is called, is slated to be run downtown on Ocean Boulevard and Redondo Avenue on Jan. 31.

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

Patti Mitchell, project manager for the Long Beach centennial celebration, said the race is a welcome addition to the weekend's kickoff festivities. Jan. 30 is the 100th anniversary of the city's incorporation as Willmore City and a major celebration had already been planned.

"It is the same day not only of the Shoreline Village Festival . . . but there is also a big hairdressers convention downtown," Mitchell said. "So it should only enhance the weekend and add to the festivities."

She also sees it as a tune-up for the city's marathon, which will be held in May.

Past Races Have Drawn 20,000

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 approached Long Beach after a disagreement with the chamber and after failure to get Redondo Beach city approval by a July 1 deadline.

Although Redondo Beach city officials credit Albrecht with much of the race's success and fear that his departure will detract from their city's event, they say they will run their own race. They express concerns, though, about two races in such close proximity detracting from participation and prestige in both cities.

Albrecht said that does not 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."

'A Real First-Class Event'

Redondo Beach 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."

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," he said.

The race is funded by participant entry fees, which were $12 in 1987, and by sponsors, which last year included British Caledonian Airways and American Savings & Loan Assn., who pay to have their names associated with the race. The race was first run in 1979 to benefit the Redondo Beach chamber. Problems between Albrecht and the chamber had reportedly been building, but neither would discuss in detail what drove them apart.

"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.

Expenses Total $120,000

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

"They (chamber officials) don't pay for anything. They just have their hand out," Albrecht said. "That's a contract I negotiated, but it's better not to have them doing anything or it just gets messed up."

Griest, who has run in the past five 10-Ks in Redondo Beach and in other races, said: "It's one of the best races that I run. It's a real challenge with all the people, but it's also a lot of fun. . . . It's as much to do with the location. That's not to say there aren't other good places. . . . (But) it will be hard to duplicate."

O'Dell agreed. "I would certainly say that (Albrecht) did a good job with what he did. It's been popular from day one. But I think the overall popularity was due to the time and the place."

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