Opinion: It’s no longer La Jolla’s Half Marathon

OUR READERS WRITE / Letters to the Editor

• It’s no longer La Jolla’s Half Marathon

By Robert Fanjas,

Carmel Valley

Make no mistake; the recently completed 2014 la Jolla Half is no longer La Jolla’s Half Marathon.

After decades of outstanding leadership under Jerry Gottlieb and La Jolla Sports Group, where the community and the athletes always came first, the Carlsbad-based race management hired two years ago has done away with many traditions that made the race unique; in order to conform to their standardized norms.

From an athlete’s perspective, while safety improvements have been implemented on the course, the pre- and post-race events amount to a shell of yesteryears: gone are the days of visiting and patronizing La Jolla businesses on registration Saturdays, gone is the beautiful artwork and logo on race T-shirts, gone are the award ceremonies and medals for the top five age groupers and raffle for all.

Today, you are being sent to a warehouse in Kearny Mesa for race packet pick-up and get “cheap” plaques in the mail as awards. From a resident standpoint, no longer are you entitled to any respect for your inconvenience if you live alongside the course in the form of race privileges. And the last two years have seen a dearth of local La Jolla sponsors and vendors.

The Kiwanis would be better served with a race management closer to La Jolla and “true to the sport,” such as Kathy Loper Events, and they should consider making a substantial donation toward the renovation of the La Jolla Rec Center, their former race central.

Please bring the race back home Kiwanis.

Robert Fanjas:

26 La Jolla Half Marathon finishes;

(1989-2014) age-group winner 2011;

Age-group runner-up 2014

• Letter to all runners in the La Jolla Half Marathon and Shores 5K, and to the community of La Jolla:

By Don Hodges,

Kiwanis Club of La Jolla Half Marathon and Shores 5K Chairman 2014

First of all, thank you all once again for helping to make the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla’s premier fundraising event a success! We saw and heard overwhelming positive support for our race and the smiles on the faces of the runners and their support groups was indicative of pleased participants.

Second, the committee has begun work on planning the 2015 Half Marathon and Shores 5K. We value the input of participants and of the public. The time is perfect to help improve the race even more.

The La Jolla Half Marathon and Shores 5K remain two of, if not the only, nonprofit races in San Diego County. The more the La Jolla Half Marathon makes the more our nonprofit, the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla, gives to charitable organizations in our community, south of the border, and to world-wide causes. As always, our focus is on improving children’s lives.

As you might imagine, a great deal of planning and permitting is required for events of this size. Two years ago we chose In Motion, Inc. of Carlsbad as our race director. They now handle most of the planning and execution of the race and we are very glad to have them involved. This takes so many burdens, physical and mental, off our Kiwanis members and up to 900 community volunteers who help out with this event.

It lets us focus on the other, smaller events like the Junior Olympics (scheduled less than a month after the Half Marathon), the 50-plus year old Pancake Breakfast and all the other programs we provide to benefit our Community, including attending our Friday noon lunch meetings where we give the money away. With the increase of money being donated by Kiwanis, we require our members to serve on committees to vet the many requests we get in order to find worthy and deserving causes. In other words, with greater benefits come greater burdens.

We very much take to heart the comments we receive, both positive and negative. The race follows the same route it always has. The pre-race events were too much for the Rec Center to handle and unfairly displaced all the other activities there. So, we decided to move the pre-race activities to Road Runner Sports in Kearny Mesa. Based on what we are told by La Jolla businesses, they continue to do very well the entire weekend of the races. And, our Kiwanis Club continues to support various programs at the Rec Center, at many venues around La Jolla, and at all of our schools!

There is no such thing as standardized norms when it comes to unique races like these. Every aspect is uniquely planned, right down to this year’s T-shirts, which we believe were very attractive.

We will carefully consider comments about restoring age group awards. We regret any inconvenience to residents and businesses along the course. We implemented a comprehensive advance notice communication plan that included posting early warning street closure signs, mailing out neighborhood notification postcards, distributing door hangers in the area and making follow-up calls in the weeks leading up to the events.

While some participants would like to return to raffle prizes after the event, others like the convenience of not having to wait for prizes to be awarded. We decided to discontinue the Carbo Load Dinner last year. While a few hundred runners came to eat free pasta and salad, the two-day pre-race events made it impractical.

Please send us your comments. E-mail any feedback to or thoughtfully comment on Yelp or Facebook. We carefully evaluate such comments, both positive and negative, and we are constantly working to make these events the best possible for participants and for our community. See you on the course next year!

• ‘Yield’ rules of the road are indeed confusing

I generally agree with John Parker in his guest commentary, May 1, “Classy La Jolla, Class-less Driving.” However, there is one assertion that I find fault with and one omission in his otherwise spot-on commentary.

In point 5, Mr. Parker tells pedestrians to yield to vehicles. This is incorrect. Pedestrians have the right of way. They must assert it. Following Mr. Parker’s advice will result in a dance between pedestrians and motorists disrupting the flow of both.

In his section on roundabouts, Mr. Parker fails to state that drivers in the roundabout have the right of way and that drivers entering only have to look left, not right.

When driving in France, I encountered signage underneath the roundabout sign reminding drivers “You do not have the right of way” — “Vous n’avez pas la priorité.” Perhaps things would flow better through Bird Rock if signage like that were installed.

Richard Wolf,

La Jolla

• Happiness is dogs on the beach

One of the high points of my day is my early morning stroll on the beach with my two Bedlington terriers. Today it ended with a stern lecture from a lifeguard regarding letting the pups off leash. At the end of his lecture, the lifeguard gave us a warning rather than a ticket, but threatened to return and ticket us for “anything he could think of” should we ever let our dogs run free again.

My two pups love to run and play on the beach. It seems so harmless in the early hours when very few people come down to the beach. To deny them that pleasure will break my heart, as I’m sure will be the case with many other dog owners. The dogs make friends, chase each other, and wrestle in the sand.

Ocean Beach and Del Mar provide their taxpayers with a dog beach. It’s a shame that La Jolla does not, given the many dog-owner residents.

Further, while their dogs play, those residents routinely pick up the garbage left on the beach by those less thoughtful. There’s something wrong with a system that prohibits dogs’ early-hour enjoyment of the beach and yet does nothing to stop the littering.

If La Jolla can’t provide its resident dogs with a small part of the beach, perhaps it could permit dogs to run free early in the morning on a designated portion of the beach. Is there any support for such an idea?

Nancy Linck,

La Jolla

• Straight facts about Virginia Way house

I’ve lived in La Jolla and enjoyed the

La Jolla Light

community newspaper for years. Since the


is a source of local happenings, as well as a source for local history, I feel I should correct an article published April 24, 2014.

I need to correct Laura DuCharme Conboy on her statement that the old house at 1419 Virginia Way originally had a slate roof. My information comes from Richard Harvey, an early resident and La Jolla painting contractor. He was the contractor who did the original paint job on the house at 1419 when it was new.

After we purchased the house in the 1960s, Mr. Harvey told me that the extra long shingles, placed in an irregular pattern were of cedar, and that they were the original shingles. He had been maintaining them since they were put on. He used a mixture that contained a lot of oil and I’m not sure what else. I consulted Mr. Harvey regarding repainting the house, and he told me about the interesting architect who designed it. The architect was very specific regarding the patterning/placing of the shingles, and the red color. He was very specific regarding the color of the exterior wood trim, also, and Mr. Harvey recalled mixing the paint colors by hand until he mixed the color that the architect wanted (an off-key ochre and a green that leaned toward dusty viridian).

Later, when I felt that the cedar roof (wood, with many years of oil saturation) was a potential fire hazard, I searched until I could find a roofing company that could do the long, irregular roof pattern as close to the original as possible, and the off red color was as close as I could find in a fire resistant roofing material. I tried to keep with the spirit of the architect, because the old house was designed with such grace and beauty. It had a long-ago era charm.

Since we sold it in the 1990s, the exterior wood trim paint scheme has been changed, and, recently, it seems, the lovely interior has been gutted. It was a beautiful old house and it’s sad to see a thing of beauty lost.

Historian Scott Moomjia is correct, however. The architect, according to what Mr. Harvey told me, was not well known in San Diego, and none of us who lived in the house were famous. Still, it seems a shame to destroy beauty.

Alice DeBolt,

La Jolla

• Bike-share kiosks don’t belong on city property

Some of the areas that seem to be planned as bike rental locations seem to be in some of the most desirable retail locations in La Jolla. This is like the City of San Diego giving almost free space away for a commercial venture that should under normal circumstances simply rent retail space like most other commercial ventures. They should operate out of stores not on our streets.

The proposal would replace at least 12 parking spaces in La Jolla, which as everyone knows, are really needed for vehicle parking. The city probably collects more revenue from the parking tickets issued within these spaces for violations than will be made by using the spaces for bike-sharing.

If we are to have bike rentals, there is no reason that they should be located in prime space as people who would rent bikes can and would also walk a few blocks in order to get to bike rental locations.

I also believe that this plan interferes with some current businesses that have retail locations and rent bikes as a part of what they do.

I am a resident of La Jolla and have no personal commercial interest in La Jolla.

The accident rate will probably increase, as inexperienced bike riders may not obey proper safety and legal riding procedures. u

Barry Levine,

La Jolla

Letters to the Editor

for publication should be 250 words or less, and sent by e-mail to

Please include the full name of the sender, city of residence and phone number for verification.