SPORTS

Old Pros Run & Ride

The Fourth of July Run & Ride, presented by the Scripps Ranch Old Pros, is a highly-anticipated and beloved annual community event. (photo by John Gregory)

Old Pros Run & Ride

School is out, warmer temperatures have returned and the Scripps Ranch Old Pros are gearing up for their signature annual fundraising event: the Fourth of July Run & Ride. With five separate events and approximately 4,000 participants expected, there are still plenty of details to be finalized by the dedicated team of volunteers.

Steve Trifoglio has returned this year as the Fourth of July Czar, responsible for overseeing all aspects of the event.

“About 150-175 Old Pros are directly involved with putting on this event, all on a volunteer basis,” he said. “It couldn’t be done without the passion that everyone has for this event; we’re proud to do it.”

The Run & Ride will again offer five different events intended to suit a vast range of participants on the morning of July 4, from families with children in strollers to well-conditioned athletes. Participants can choose from a two-mile “fun run,” a 12-mile bike ride, a USA Track & Field-sanctioned 10K run, a 28-mile bike ride, or a 50-mile bike ride. The running events begin on Red Cedar Drive in front of Miramar Ranch Elementary School. Cycling events begin at the intersection of Hibert Street and Scripps Ranch Boulevard. All races conclude with a finish at Hoyt Park where a small festival with beer garden featuring craft brewed beer, food trucks, a live band and other activities await.

New for this year, patriotic event merchandise – including socks, headbands and bike jerseys – will be available for purchase during bib pick-ups or at Hoyt Park following the Run & Ride. Additionally, as part of the post-event activities, the Old Pros will add a dunk tank, offering event-goers an opportunity to “dunk the Czar,” according to Trifoglio. Per usual, family-friendly activities like a photo booth, inflatable slides and face painting will also be available.

Megan Garvey, a 15-year-old Scripps Ranch native, began participating in the Run & Ride with her family when she was just two years old, sitting in a toddler seat attached to the rear of her father’s bicycle.

“It’s always been something we’ve done as a family,” said Garvey, whose family has only missed the event once in the last 13 years.

Drew Londerholm and his “Speedo Crew” pose for a fun group photo on race day. (courtesy Drew Londerholm)

Drew Londerholm is also a long-time participant in the Run & Ride, having begun his participation with his family 20 years ago while in middle school. Once he reached early adulthood, he and a friend decided to begin a tradition of participating in the run events wearing red, white and blue Speedos, socks, headbands and other costume accessories. Over the next several years, more and more friends – both male and female – would join their “Speedo crew,” making them a well-known fixture at the annual event.

“We recruited more and more people to run with us in Speedos. Ladies would wear tutus,” Londerholm said. “We had upwards of 30 people in 2016 and 2017, and have had friends from as far as Los Angeles join us.”

While the shorter races are certainly family-friendly and conducive to casual participation, more competitive athletes find the longer distance races just as fulfilling. Scott Houts is the club leader for the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) cycling club. His group consists of physically challenged athletes who may have prosthetic or missing limbs and may utilize cycling equipment that has been modified to suit their special needs. The club also includes able-bodied athletes who participate as mentors and supporters alongside their physically challenged colleagues.

Houts’ group has participated in the 50-mile bike ride for the last four years. He said that the inclusive nature of the event, the fact that funds raised are for a charitable cause, and the reasonably challenging design of the course, make it a good fit for his club.

“We get great hospitality when we’re out there,” Houts said. “It’s a fun opportunity to come out and ride with a bunch of other people on a great American holiday and enjoy ourselves. It’s a little bit of a challenge, but not so hard that our riders can’t handle it.”

Garvey, Londerholm and Houts all agree that the community aspect of the Run & Ride is one of the most appealing elements.

“The sense of community is what has kept me coming back year after year,” Londerholm said. “The Old Pros do a great job of organizing the event and of honoring those who served.”

For more information, visit srop.org.

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