Community warms up for 33rd Great Race

SPEEDSTERS—Kids break from the starting line during last year’s Great Race of Agoura, set for March 24 this year. Acornfile photo

SPEEDSTERS—Kids break from the starting line during last year’s Great Race of Agoura, set for March 24 this year. Acornfile photo

Preparations are underway for the March 24 Dole Great Race of Agoura Hills. Now in its 33rd year, the event will again offer races for runners of all skill levels, plus some new challenges.

Jodi Regan, longtime volunteer coordinator for the Great Race, said people of all ages are needed to assist before, during and after the event.

Regan is promoting the volunteer opportunity as a way to raise funds for schools in Agoura Hills and Oak Park and as a show of community spirit.

Students are encouraged to volunteer during the race to earn community service credit required for graduation. Regan said students often volunteer in groups to add to the fun.

The multifaceted event requires about 400 teenage and adult volunteers to handle myriad details, including handing out registration packets to participants, setting up and tearing down the festival-type expo at Chumash Park after the race and manning checkpoints along the seven scenic race routes through Old Agoura, Paramount Ranch, the Santa Monica Mountains and Malibu wine country.

Although race day is March 24, volunteers will also be needed March 22 and 23, Regan said.

“Spots are filling quickly,” she said about volunteer opportunities. To check available assignments, visit volunteer.greatrace. run. Email questions to Regan at

Race details

The Pacific Half Marathon road race, which starts at the Paramount Ranch old west movie set, winds through the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the historic Cornell area of Agoura and Malibou Lake. Runners will also get a glimpse of two Malibu wineries.

The Chesebro Half Marathon is one of the most popular races offered, one that routinely sells out, according to Traci Greenberg, race director. The Chesebro race traverses through Old Agoura down Chesebro Road to the Cheeseboro Canyon Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains. Greenberg said this race is among the largest trail races in the United States.

The new Team Marathon should not be mistaken for a relay, she said. This race offers a unique opportunity for pairs of runners.

“It’s like a challenge,” Greenberg said. “The new Team Marathon Challenge is generating a lot of buzz. Teams of two are signing up for the challenge, where one runs our trail half marathon (Chesebro) and one runs the road half marathon (Pacific), and meet at the finish line. We add up your times to form a marathon time, age-grade it, and you compete that way.”

Another new race, the 15K Challenge, allows runners to participate in the 10K followed by participation in the 5K.

“You are running two races,” Greenberg said.

The Kids 1 Mile and the Family Fun Run will be offered again, and a party is planned at Chumash Park after the races.

The Dole Great Race of Agoura was established in 1986 by a group of parents looking to raise money for their children’s schools. Now professionally produced, the race is one of the largest running events in the Los Angeles area. To date, the Dole Great Race has raised more than $1.6 million for local schools.

For information and registration, visit To view a video, go to GreatRaceLA/videos/.