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Runners Warm Up for Fiesta Afterward

August 05, 1993|RICK VANDERKNYFF | Rick VanderKnyff is a free-lance writer who contributes regularly to The Times Orange County Edition.

Sometimes, the success of a running event depends at least partly on the size of the party afterward.

Sunday's Fiesta 5000 serves as a kickoff for San Clemente's annual Fiesta, a street festival with games, entertainment, food booths and children's rides (see Around & About, page 15).

Organizers of the daylong event say the Fiesta draws more than 50,000 visitors. The 2,300 or so that are expected to take part in the 5K run make it one of the more popular running events in the county.

The event draws everyone from serious racers to walkers. "Because of it being a 5K, we get a lot of local people who aren't really runners," said Chuck Narey, this year's volunteer race director.

Organizers of the Fiesta 5000 (now in its fifth year) used to sponsor some elite runners for the event, but that became too expensive. Still, the race draws some of the top local runners as well as beginners.

Course records are 13 minutes and 58 seconds for the men, set by Steve Spence, and 15:54 for the women, by Sylvia Mosqueda.

According to Narey, the course begins with a slight downhill for the first mile before climbing gradually and finishing with another slight descent. The course passes through downtown San Clemente, loops around Max Berg Plaza Park and ends near the street festival.

Medallions and other prizes will be awarded in 14 runner categories. A health fair, sponsored by Samaritan Medical Center-San Clemente, will follow the race.

Runners traditionally stick around for the street festival, which begins at 9:30 a.m., according to Narey.

Entertainment at the event ranges from traditional Andean mountain music to a Drifters tribute. Fiesta admission is free; proceeds from food booths and other attractions benefit nonprofit groups in the city.

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