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Saddleback Memorial Medical Center Claims Title to Flo-Jo 1/2 Marathon
March 19, 2003

Courtesy of Running USA Wire

LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. - (March 18, 2003) - The Saddleback Memorial Foundation is proud to announce the annual Flo-Jo Memorial Half Marathon & 5K event has been renamed the Saddleback Memorial Half Marathon & 5K, presented by Washington Mutual and the City of Laguna Hills. While the Foundation still encourages participants to run in memory of three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and local hero Florence Griffith Joyner, the new name more accurately reflects the event's purpose to enhance the health and well-being of the Saddleback community by providing a wellness activity for not only the people of South Orange County but for people from across our nation.

With such a rich history of success, the Foundation, as well as Saddleback Memorial Medical Center will take the lead as the title sponsor of the fifth annual event. Over the past four years, the event has attracted more than 25,000 attendees to the Saddleback area. The event has been creating national media attention since its inception. The event has been featured on CNN, 60 Minutes II and in "Runner's World" Magazine.

In addition to offering a great Memorial Day activity for South County families, the event has hosted runners and walkers from 30 states and countries as far away as England. The 2002 event day showcased a fantastic field of Southern California elite runners who rewrote the course record books. The men's and women's half marathon winners both set new course records: 1:09:01, Nazario Romero of Vista, Calif. and 1:20:45, Jeanne Lasee-Johnson of Chula Vista, Calif. In addition, the Men's 5K featured a record breaking performance from Johann Appel of Huntington Beach, who covered the very challenging course in a swift 15:02, cutting over 40 seconds of the previous record set in 2001.

Over the past two years, the Saddleback Memorial Foundation has been gradually refocusing the event on raising funds for Saddleback Memorial Medical Center and Trails4All, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving trails while maintaining natural resources and reasonable public access.

At the 2003 Saddleback Memorial Half Marathon & 5K, participants can expect the same well-organized event, which includes the half marathon, 5K, children's races and family health expo, which is presented this year by Orange Coast Women's Medical Group. They can also expect the same scenic, challenging course for the half marathon along four miles of the beautiful Aliso and Wood Canyon Park and the same 5K run/walk through the private gates of Leisure World featuring rolling hills and quiet, tree-lined streets. Both events end at the Laguna Hills Community Center, and proceeds from this year will benefit Saddleback Memorial Medical Center and Trails4All.

Children ages 1 to 12 are invited to once again compete in the Washington Mutual Kids' Races. Races for future Olympians include a Cross Country Challenge, Expo Trot and Diaper Dash. Each child entered in the races will receive a special Washington Mutual goodie bag, finisher's medal, event T-shirt and a Ruby's Aero Diner gift certificate.

For information or to volunteer, visit or call (949) 452-3466.

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