Almost 700 runners are expected in Avalon this weekend for the Annual Lions Club Benefit Race. This race is one of the premier long-distance races on the West Coast. Runners train for months for the chance to race over the beautiful hills of Catalina Island.
The last 50mile/50Kilomter race had runners competing from California, Washington, Oregon Nevada and some from Canada. With the choice of 50 miles or 50 kilometers many families had members in both events. For many racers this Catalina Island Avalon Lions Avalon Benefit Race has been a tradition for many years. There will be racers this Saturday competing in their tenth event.
Eighty-one-year young runner Ken Holder, from Fox Island Washington, has been in the Avalon Lions Benefit 50 Mile Race for 35 years, he has done the Catalina Marathon 50 times and has run over 1,000 miles on Catalina Island. Ken will not be racing this year due to some medical issues. We wish him all the best.
All the money raised this weekend will be put back into the Catalina Island Community in the form of financial help to those Islanders who need it. The Avalon Lions Club provides emergency transportation to the mainland when needed, food bank support, community Covid help as required and prescriptions. The Avalon Lions Club has been and will continue to be a financial supporter of the Avalon School Athletic Programs and the Kids Baseball League.
The eight aid stations on the racecourse will be staffed by volunteer Lions Members or Catalina Island Community Club members who will receive a $1,000 donation for their future club activities. Most all of the aid stations have a theme where racers can relax with energy rich food and drinks. One of the aid stations Saturday will celebrate Elvis Presley’s Birthday on January 8. “Thank you Very Much”
The 50-mile race will start at 5 a.m. on Saturday from the stage area on Crescent Ave. These racers will run out to Edison, back through town, up through the Memorial, then along the ridge to Hermits Gulch trail to the airport road. They will follow the Airport Road to Two Harbors and return to Avalon through Middle Ranch and down the Airport Road to the finish in Avalon near the Crescent Avenue fountain.
The 50-Kilometer racers start at 6 a.m. on Saturday from the same place as the 50-mile race. These racers run through town up to the ridge above the Memorial then along the ridge to the Airport Road. The 50 Kilometer runners turn around at Little Harbor Overlook and come back to Avalon through Middle Ranch.
The Avalon Lions Club has taken proactive steps to limit the possibility of spreading Covid at this event. The Saturday Night Awards party has been canceled and medals will be available in the tent near the Wrigley Stage after the race. This event will take place out of doors which will limit Covid issues. Everyone involved in the race will be asked to wear a N95 or similar mask which the Lions Club will provide to those participants who need one.