On the 4th of July, the Santa Clarita Runners Club sponsored its annual Independence Day Classic. The Santa Clarita Runners Club has been hosting the Independence Day Classic for 38 years. It is the community’s oldest and largest ongoing race. Each year the club donates proceeds from the event to the high school cross-country teams in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Almost 700 participants donned red, white and blue spirit wear to run the festive 5K or 10K course. Scores of toddlers and children participated in the Kiddie K.
In 1984, when the Hart District included only three high schools, the initial races attracted about 100 participants and each school received $300. Thirty-five years later, in pre-pandemic 2019, 1,000 runners participated and the club was able to donate $3,200 to each of the community’s six high school teams.
This year, with the addition of Castaic High School, the donations were divided among seven schools. Although this year’s race had fewer participants than the pre-pandemic races and costs of administering the race increased, each school received a donation of $1,850, a total donation of $13,000 from the Santa Clarita Runners Club.
Representatives from the schools’ cross-country teams were presented with checks at the run club’s summer social.
In the last 10 years, the club has donated more than $130,000 to support cross-country teams in the SCV. Since these high school programs don’t have the financial support that larger sports programs have, they are dependent on donations to fund registration fees, transportation and training.
Over the decades, many local businesses and corporations have sponsored the Independence Day Classic. The run club would like to thank this year’s sponsors, Industrial Metal Supply, RM Taxes and Business Solutions, Dr. Peter Porasik D.D.S., UCLA Health, Rob Gillard LPL Financial and long-time supporter Steve Watanabe D.D.S.
Carl Pantoji, the club’s race director for the last 14 years, said he is gratified to see how the race has grown over the years.
“The Santa Clarita Runners look forward to carrying on the tradition of supporting local high school cross-country teams and other nonprofits,” said Pantoji.
For information about becoming a sponsor of next year’s Independence Day Run, please contact Santa Clarita Runners at www.scrunners.org.