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Benefit Hopes to Keep Pace With the Serious and the Casual

November 17, 1994|RICK VANDERKNYFF | Rick VanderKnyff is a member of the Times Orange County Edition staff.

Running events within Laguna Beach proper are a rarity. The annual School Power run is the only one held on a regular basis. The city simply doesn't allow too many races on its narrow and often busy streets.

So the Saturday debut of a new Laguna Beach run is sufficient cause for runners to sit up and take notice. Unlike the School Power run, the new Run for a Reason 5K run and walk doesn't veer into Laguna Canyon, instead staying close to downtown.

"This is going to be our new annual event," said Sarah Kasman, director of Laguna Shanti, the sponsors and beneficiaries of the race. Laguna Shanti has been offering emotional and practical support to HIV-infected people and those with other life-threatening illnesses since 1987.

The goal, she said, is to make the Run for a Reason a regular stop on the circuit for serious local runners, and, at the same time, she hopes the run and walk are short and pleasant enough to attract more casual participants.

"We are looking to attract approximately 1,000 people, between runners and walkers," Kasman said, a healthy total for a first-time event.

The course, including hills, starts at City Hall and takes in parts of Glenneyre Street, Forest Avenue and Third Street.

"We hope that runners will find it challenging, but not too long a race," Kasman said. "We feel fortunate that the city has allowed us to hold this event."

After the competition, race and run, there will be an awards ceremony at Laguna Shanti, with entertainment and a pancake breakfast, included in the $25 race fee.

The nonprofit Laguna Shanti serves primarily South County, but a recent grant will allow it to extend some of its services countywide. Among its support offerings are home-delivered meals, transportation, individual and group counseling and buddy programs.

Laguna Shanti has about 175 volunteers at any given time, Kasman said, adding that it has served about 350 clients and their families this year.

*

Upper Newport Bay will be the site of a work project Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers are asked to bring their work gloves and help rid the ecological reserve of Pampas grass and other exotic intruders that are choking out native species. For information, call (714) 640-6746.

* What: Run for a Reason 5K run and walk.

* When: Saturday, Nov. 19. Registration is at 6:30 a.m., with the run at 8 a.m. and the walk at 8:20 a.m.

* Where: Starts and finishes at Laguna Beach City Hall, Third Street and Forest Avenue.

* Whereabouts: Take Laguna Canyon Road south into Laguna Beach; signs will direct runners to parking areas near Forest Avenue.

* Wherewithal: $25 (includes T-shirt, breakfast and entertainment).

* Where to call: (714) 494-1446.

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