The intense heat took a much needed respite Sunday morning as over 3,000 Chargers fans flocked to Qualcomm Stadium to participate in the 6th annual Kaiser Permanente Bolt to the Q which proceeds benefited the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego. Racers began their journey in the Qualcomm parking lot and finished on the field the team plays on during the season.
"I'm not running today, but this race is so unique because you get to finish in the stadium at the 50-yard line," said General Manager Tom Telesco. "I think the fact that it's a race with over 3,000 people who are all Chargers fans wearing lightning bolts and Chargers gear is great to see."
Whether they ran the 10K, 5K or in the Kids Fun Run, participants received a medal and many got to see themselves on Bolt Vision. However, the most special post-race gift was the high five runners received from Pro Bowl cornerback Jason Verrett as they crossed the finish line.
"It's great!" he said. "There are more fans so that's always a good thing. I'm just excited to see everybody out here. I'm used to it now and just excited and at a loss for words. Seeing how many kids are running is probably the most exciting thing because I love to give back."
Verrett headlined the event for the second-straight year as Telesco called the cornerback a "great advocate" for the race.
"It's always about the community and the more things you can do," added Defensive Coordinator John Pagano. "Jason does a great job of reaching out and being able to give back to the fans. It's easy for me to come down here and be a part of the Chargers and anything Jason is doing."
Bolt to the Q was very much a Chargers team event. Alumni like former linebacker Stephen Cooper and center Nick Hardwick were on-hand to show their support. Hardwick laced up running shoes instead of cleats for the second year in a row and participated in the 5K on Sunday.
"It's just a blast being with the community and sharing the experience," he mentioned. "I always wanted to participate in these kind of events when I was playing, but (didn't). But now, it's a great opportunity to interact with people who are Chargers fans and all the San Diegans who love the community as much as I do."
Giving back to the community is synonymous with being a Charger. With training camp around the corner, having former players and staff members like Pagano, who also ran the 5K, show their support for one another is essential for building team camaraderie heading into the season.
"You're always looking out for each other and it's about supporting one another," he said. "It's a great cause and I'm out here to try and get my run on. I won't be at the five-minute mile pace! I'll be somewhere near the back, but it'll be all good."
In the 10K, Jake Dialesandro was the top male runner (33:17) while Kristin Jazdzewski (34:01) finished first for the women. Xander Doyle (16:48) and Alisia Barajas (19:21) led the men and women in the 5K respectively.