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Posted: March 11, 2009  : Add to Mixx!

Athletics: More than 7,000 participants are expected to take to the streets and trails of Agoura Hills on March 28 for the Dole Great Race

Event organizers announced that a record number of people have already signed up for this year's event, surpassing pre-registration activity for all previous years. Participants are coming from more than 325 cities in 25 different states to join local residents for one of the premiere running events in the country.

Great Race event producer Danny Greenberg states, "I think the extraordinary amount of registrations reflect something positive coming out of this economic crisis. People are turning to what they value most - their health and fitness, their families and simple pleasures - like a temporary escape by going out for an endorphin-filled run in gorgeous surroundings."

New to the Great Race this year is the scenic Pacific Half Marathon, sponsored by running specialty giant Road Runner Sports. "The Pacific Half Marathon course is absolutely breathtaking. This is the only race in existence where you can drive just 30 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles and run through the historic 'Western Town' of Paramount Ranch, along the rolling hills of the Santa Monica Mountains, past the quaint, scenic and relatively unknown Malibou Lake, before a spectacular finish at Chumash Park. This course offers something for every runner," says course director Brennan Lindner. The Road Runner Sports Pacific Half Marathon road race will join the popular Chesebro Half Marathon mostly trail race, which is expected to sell out before the event.

In addition to competitive runners interest in the half marathon races, producers report that all events are experiencing more interest than ever before. Early registration is also vigorous for the Old Agoura 10K, recognized by Runner's World magazine as one of the Top 10Ks in the country; the Deena Kastor 5K, named for the Olympian marathon medalist who grew up in Agoura Hills; the Family Fun Run; and the Camp KeystoneKids Mile, one of the largest youth runs in California. To ensure a quality experience, all of the races are capped and most are likely to sell out.

"The Great Race this year is more than just a run. I think it represents a resiliency of spirit and reinventing our lifestyle with a re-dedication to personal fitness," comments Greenberg.

With beginnings as a fundraising event to help support local schools during the state's 1985 budget crises and now professionally produced, The Dole Great Race of Agoura Hills continues to support education in Agoura Hills and Oak Park. In addition to donating more than $1 million to elementary schools and high school athletic programs, the event also raises fitness awareness with such programs as the month-long Road to Fitness warrior program at Oak Park's Brookside Elementary School, which gets students actively involved in their own nutrition and exercise challenges while "training" for the event.

The Dole Great Race of Agoura Hills post-race party sponsored by Team Play Events has been voted " The Best Post-Race Party" by Los Angeles-area runners for seven years in a row. The Whole Foods Market Great Race Brunch of pancakes, crepes, fruits, burritos, bagels and other treats has been dubbed the "The Great Feast of Agoura Hills." Set in Chumash Park in a picnic atmosphere, the post race party also features live music from local band Red Muffs, more than 50 vendor booths dedicated to sports and fitness, giant inflatables for kids and giveaways.

Individuals and families may register for any of the races in advance through March 22 at

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