SAN DIEGO – More than 2,000 runners descended upon Chargers Park on Saturday morning for the first-ever Kaiser Permanente Bolt to the Q 5K and kid’s fun run.
Proceeds will benefit Mack’s Miracles, a non-profit charitable foundation focused on health, education and financial literacy started by tackle
“It’s really about getting out and being more fit and living a healthier lifestyle,” said McNeill, who finished in 35:40.
Chargers President-CEO Dean Spanos also participated in the race.
“This 5K is a great way to encourage people to live a healthy lifestyle while also benefitting a worthwhile organization,” Spanos said. “I don’t run in a lot of marathons, obviously, but since this was only a 5K I thought I’d give it a try. It was neat being out there with 2,500 people from San Diego.
“It was even more fun starting next to Marcus McNeill, who helped promote this event because it’s part of his charity, Mack’s Miracles. I looked at him and I said, ‘My goal today is to finish without stopping and to beat Marcus McNeill.’ I did both, so that makes me feel like I really accomplished something.
“I was giving Marcus a bad time when he finished. He started off so fast, I said, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to come in last place!’ About halfway through, I saw Marcus on the side and I passed him. I said, ‘How can you let somebody like me pass you? I may have to think about re-opening your contract,’ and he laughed. He started running, but in the end I got him, so that makes me feel good. All in all it was a great day for a lot of people and it was for a very worthy cause.”
With record-setting temperatures across most of the country, Bolt to the Q runners experienced cloudy skies and low 60s on a course that featured some elevation change in the first mile before finishing on the 50-yard line at Qualcomm Stadium.
Runners got to see themselves on the large video screen at the stadium, interact with McNeill and enjoy a post-race spread before catching shuttles back to Chargers Park.
Roosevelt Cook of Oak Hills, a former Fresno State middle-distance runner, won the race, completing the course in 15:15. He and 60-year-old Richard Buckrop of Huntington Beach (15:46) pulled away from the rest of the field.
San Diego’s Celestine Arambulo was the first female finisher, placing 19th overall with a time of 18:44.
One couple, Mike and Tracy Lily, met in 2009 running a marathon in China. Mike underwent quadruple bypass surgery April 15th and ran Saturday for the first time post-surgery. Tracy, who also ran, is pregnant.
“(The bypass) was in April and we just ran the Athens Marathon in October,” Tracy said. “He was plugging through. It is crazy what the body can do.”
Said Mike: “It was a really good thing (I ran prior to the bypass), because my heart was really strong, just clogged. If I hadn’t been as strong I would’ve been gone a year ago.”
McNeill’s charity also staged a fitness camp Friday at the Salvation Army’s Ray and Joan Kroc Center for more than 250 children, planned to hold a gala Saturday evening with some Chargers players and will take 30 kids to Sea World on Sunday.
Note: 5k Results are now posted.