In the early morning hours before the city slickers of the San Fernando Valley descend on Pierce College Sunday to learn how to milk a cow or shear a sheep, a group of runners will take a tour of a different kind.
Runners of all shapes, sizes and abilities will head for the hills above the campus to take part in the second annual Run for the Farm, which includes a 2-kilometer youth run and walk, a 5-kilometer run and walk, and a 10-kilometer run.
While the event is different from the Pierce College Farmwalk that is to begin at 9:30 a.m., organizers said the intention is the same: to bring attention to the farmland that sits in the middle of the West Valley.
"We're very much involved in wanting to keep the open-space farmland where the community can walk and enjoy," said Jack Dawson, president of the West Valley Eagles Track Club, co-sponsor of the event.
Last year, all the proceeds from the run went to the agriculture department. This year, half the money raised will go to a special fund set up by the track club.
The club's long-term goal, Dawson said, is to raise enough money in donations and entrance fees to renovate the track and cross-country trails in the college stadium.
Dawson said the effort to establish a state-of-the-art facility has been around since the late 1980s.
After a lull in activity, the idea was revived when the college administration began to look for ways to develop portions of the farmland to raise money.
"If we can find a way to bring some money and attention to the college, perhaps [the administrators will] look more at the farm to improve it rather than the option of getting rid of it," Dawson said.
Registration for the races will begin at 6:30 a.m. at the football stadium. Entrance fees are $18 for adults, and $15 for seniors and children 12 and younger.