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Dante Acosta: Santa Clarita laces up for Wings for Life run

Posted: May 2, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: May 2, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Ever since I moved to Santa Clarita nearly 28 years ago, I’ve always appreciated our community’s clean streets, wide open spaces and active lifestyle.

Coincidentally, these are many of the same aspects that attract world-class sporting events to Santa Clarita every year.

The latest example is the “Wings for Life World Run,” which will kick off in the city at 3 a.m. Sunday, May 4.
Residents may wonder, why so early?

As the largest global running event ever, the Wings for Life World Run will take place in 34 different cities spanning six continents. At 10 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), and equivalent times around the world, tens of thousands of competitors will begin the race as one.

Santa Clarita was selected as the only West Coast host city for this inaugural event, providing the ultimate SoCal spotlight for this epic worldwide race.

The Wings for Life World Run will have no set distance or time limit because there will be a moving finish line known as the “Catcher Car.”

Thirty minutes after the race begins, Catcher Cars around the world will begin to move through each course, effectively ending the race for participants as the car passes them.

Shuttles will follow the Catcher Cars, so when race participants are passed by the moving finish line, they can catch a ride back to the start to celebrate.

The race ends when there is only one man and one woman left running across the world’s courses. These two participants will be crowned global champions.

The final male and female participants left running at each location and country will be crowned location champions and country champions, respectively.

In addition to providing an opportunity to run through Santa Clarita’s streets before dawn, the race will serve a very worthwhile cause. One hundred percent of its proceeds will benefit the Wings for Life foundation, which funds research to find a cure for spinal cord injury.

This means that all runners who participate in the race will be joining forces across the planet to run for those who can’t.

More than 40,000 people across the globe signed up to for the Wings for Life World Run. I’m proud to report that the Santa Clarita location has the highest participation rate in the United States, with more than 1,500 people primed to run through the streets of our beautiful city.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, runners of all experience levels will gather at the Santa Clarita start line, located at the Westfield Valencia Town Center.

At the 3 a.m. start signal, they will take off on a race course that will crisscross through Santa Clarita’s streets and trails.

As most of the race participants hit the 5k mark, the Catcher Car will be warming up its engine. At 3:30 a.m., this moving finish line will take off along the race course, followed by a shuttle that will pick up participants who are passed by the Catcher Car.

Runners will continue to race along the course, which will track through Valencia, Stevenson Ranch, Newhall, Saugus and Canyon Country, as well as Sand and Placerita canyons.

The race will continue into the dawn early Sunday morning until one remaining local man and woman participant can be crowned location champions.

Rolling traffic closures will be in place throughout the course of the race, but inconvenience to residents should be minimal given the early morning hours of the event.

However, those who plan to travel between the hours of 2:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Sunday may be detoured.

To view the full route and other traffic details, visit

Registration has ended for the Wings for Life World Run, but residents of all ages can still join in the activity by cheering on participants as they race through Santa Clarita wearing glow-in-the-dark duds and bright, reflective clothing.

It will certainly be a sight to see, and I invite the community to watch this historic event as we showcase Santa Clarita to the world.

Dante Acosta is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at



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