Slug= American Martyrs Run/Walk

Martyrs Run/Walk draws 800

by John Tawa

The 20th Annual American Martyrs Good Morning 5K Run/Walk took place Feb. 26. More than 800 runners toed the mark at 8 a.m. on Laurel Avenue in Manhattan Beach for the annual endurance test through city streets.

Former Olympian Jeff Atkinson, who met his wife Alison at the race three years ago, crossed the finish line first in a time of 17:17.42. Scott Guerrero of Manhattan Beach, the self-proclaimed "first non-Olympian finisher," finished just one second behind. Mark Silva placed third.

In the women's race, Diane Silva placed first in 20:06.48, followed by Carrie Schmidt and Sharon Lotesto.

Beyond the winners, countless parents and children running together, often racing one another to the finish line, highlighted the race. Another highlight was the sight of Monsignor John Barry outkicking a parishioner at the line to finish in 30:20.

"You've got a mean kick," said the man as the preacher left him in the dust. ER