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Snails Welcome to Keep Pace in Irvine Park 8K

August 25, 1994|RICK VANDERKNYFF | Rick VanderKnyff is a member of The Times Orange County Edition staff. and

Last year, A Snail's Pace 8K at Irvine Regional Park in Orange drew some big names for its initial run, including miler Steve Scott. Course records were established by well-known runners Anet Cooper (29 minutes, 22 seconds) and Mark Nenow (24:10).

This year, the field probably won't be as star-studded, organizers say, giving weekend warriors more of a shot.

"It's going to be a real down-home race," said Eddie Johnson, of the sponsoring A Snail's Pace Running Shop in Fountain Valley. "It'll probably be a little less competitive than it was last year."

A little less competitive, perhaps, but a little more popular. Last year's outing drew about 300 runners, while this year's field is expected to number 500 come Sunday at 8:30 a.m., according to Johnson. Race day registration runs from 7 to 8 a.m. Walkers are welcome.

The shop employee described the course as fast and mostly flat, with only one moderate climb. The course is on paved trails winding through the picturesque Irvine Regional Park, a tree-shaded stretch of green in the hills of east Orange.

"It's almost like a trail run with pavement," he said. "It's like running out in the woods."

Race director Matt Capelouto has added some new wrinkles this year, including prize premiums. Pink flags (for women) and blue (for men) will be posted at miles 2, 3 and 4. Runners who grab the flags will win a new pair of running shoes (one flag per runner).

Johnson said the event poses a dilemma for leading runners--do they slow down and grab a flag? Awards will be given to the top three runners in each of a variety of divisions (by age and gender), and other prizes will be raffled off.

A pair of new shoes will also go to the best-dressed snail. Organizers hope to entice some runners to compete in costume, adding a festive atmosphere to what is intended as a fun and scenic event.

"We just want people to come out and have a good time," Johnson said.

*

Another of Orange County's more scenic parks will be the site of a rare evening event, to be held Thursday, Sept. 1.

Sunset in the Park offers a pair of cross-country courses in Huntington Central Park, a 2.8-mile race at 6 p.m. and a 4.8-mile race at 6:30 p.m. For the ambitious, there's an award category for those who run both. Walkers are also welcome.

For info, call (714) 841-5417.

* What: A Snail's Pace 8K run/walk.

* When: Sunday, Aug. 28, 8:30 a.m. (registration from 7 to 8 a.m.).

* Where: Irvine Regional Park, Orange.

* Whereabouts: From the Newport (55) Freeway, exit at Chapman Avenue and go east several miles to Jamboree Road. Turn left and follow the signs into the park.

* Wherewithal: $20 (includes T-shirt). Park entry is $2 per vehicle.

* Where to call: (714) 842-2337.

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