Imagine the shock and chagrin of the Santa Clarita Runners, organizers of the Independence Day 5K race, to read John Ortega's account on July 5 and learn of their grave error in not offering prize money, as had been done in years past.
Ortega left no doubt that, in his opinion, the event was a flop, that the absence of prize money caused a boring, non-competitive race. He even went so far as to decree that winner Daren Stonerock would have been unable to crack the top 10 last year. In fact, Stonerock's winning time at the Brentwood 5K in May, on a tougher course, would have placed him at the front of last year's lead pack.
Had Ortega bothered to talk to the organizers, he would have learned that the race was the largest yet, with 643 registered runners. He also would have learned that the race was for the benefit of the running programs at the three local high schools, and that $800 has been given to each.
The Santa Clarita Runners are not opposed to awarding prize money. If some fat corporate sponsor--say, the Los Angeles Times--wishes to donate and designate money for that purpose, you can be sure that the money will be received most graciously.