Community Race Benefits Local Families

The 9th annual Calabasas Classic 5K and 10K will raise funds for at least 16 families whose lives have been touched by cancer and other catastrophic illnesses.


Over 2,500 participants are once again expected to hit the pavement this Sunday for the 9th annual Calabasas Classic 5K and 10K Runs.

“It’s a really cool community event that’s open to all,” said Julie Talbert, executive director of the Talbert Family Foundation, the race organizer.

The Calabasas-based non-profit organization puts up the annual races to lend a hand to families whose members have been afflicted with catastrophic illnesses including, but not limited to, cancer.

This year, there are about 16 teams who organized their own jog-a-thons and mobilized community members to join their specific causes.

One such team is Team Matthew. Last year, the team drew over 200 members, all with a singular goal in mind, to help 10-year-old Matthew Alvarez battle pre-B ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia), the most common type of leukemia in children.

Diagnosed in 2010, the fifth-grader from Chaparral Elementary School is back in school and his old routine of building Lego sets and reading the entire Harry Potter series, after a recent spinal tap, according to dad Jose Alvarez.

“After the spinal tap, he was in pain and on some pretty strong meds for a week,” said Alvarez, an assistant manager at Gelson’s Market in Calabasas.

Alvarez, a single dad raising Matthew on his own, is grateful for the community’s support. Everyone from Matthew’s teachers to the medical staff at Kaiser Permanente in Woodland Hills has just been tremendously helpful, said Alvarez.

As icing to the already towering cake, there is a Team Chaparral this year that has the same goal–to raise funds for Matthew’s ongoing treatment.

“I was very surprised when they told me they were forming this team for Matthew and that they will all be there walking or running for him this Sunday,’ said Alvarez.

Hopefully, Matthew will be there as well, if his “counts” are good and there is no risk of infection, said Alvarez.

According to Talbert, most of the beneficiaries will be having their own booths or gathering areas.

Team Matthew had identical shirts printed out last year for its supporters. This year, the Alvarez family will give out recyclable bags.

Just like years past, the course has not changed at all, said Talbert. “The 10K will still be two loops of the 5K–fast and scenic through Calabasas Park,” she said.

Some of the highlights on Sunday include John Brenkus from ESPN’s Sport Science who will be guest announcing and running along with his wife Lizzie.

Repeat sponsor Lululemon Athletica’s store representatives will be walking around with a portable changing booth.

“It’s going to be a really fun expo with so many local vendors doing fun things with the community,” said Talbert. “We filled up the expo slots this year more quickly than we did in the past.”

Baby joggers and dogs are welcome on the course. Dogs may also be dropped off at the Pet Sitting by Ashley booth at the expo.

The starting gun for the 5K will go off first at 8 a.m., followed by the 10K at 9 a.m. and the family fun run at 10:30 a.m.

Online registration will close at 6 p.m. today, Thursday, November 8.

Same day registration starts at 6 a.m. on Sunday at the expo, located at 23975 Park Sorrento in Calabasas.


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