Virtual Boston Marathon

Chino Hills residents (from left) Chuck Thompson, Jim Powell, Dolores Valencia and Reggie Thomas ran in the virtual Boston Marathon last Saturday in Huntington Beach after the marathon, scheduled for Sept. 14, was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The group had planned to run in Chino and Chino Hills but poor air quality from nearby brush fires forced them to run in Huntington Beach. 

Cancellation of this year’s Boston Marathon because of the coronavirus pandemic didn’t stop five Chino Hills runners from completing the 26.2-mile event last weekend in Southern California.

Chuck Thompson, Jim Powell, Dolores Valencia, Reggie Thomas and Mike Heasley, all members of the Chino Hills-based Inland Empire Running Club, took part in the Boston Marathon’s virtual event, using a phone app that simulated the course showing the cities the runners would be in had they been running in the actual event.

The Boston Marathon was originally scheduled for April 20 but was postponed to Sept. 14. Race organizers in July formally cancelled the event because of the pandemic.

Each Boston Marathon participant, however, was given a kit with race bibs, a goody bag with various items, medals and a T-shirt.

Mr. Thompson, Mr. Powell, Ms. Valencia and Mr. Thomas had planned to run their 26.2 miles in Chino and Chino Hills last Saturday, but poor air quality from the Bobcat Fire in Azusa and the El Dorado Fire in Yucaipa, forced the group to run in Huntington Beach.

They started at Beach Boulevard and ran to the Bolsa Chica Preserve, Mr. Thompson said. They turned around and ran to Balboa Island before making a second U-turn back to Beach Boulevard.

“We saw other runners doing the same thing in Huntington Beach,” Mr. Thompson said. “We were all cheering for each other.”

Mr. Heasley ran his 26.2 miles on Sunday at Ayala Park in Chino, completing several loops of the 140-acre park at 14225 Central Ave. at Edison Avenue.

“The air quality was acceptable that day,” Mr. Thompson said.

He said the runners had a 26.2-mile course planned out in Chino and Chino Hills, and friends of the group had planned to place mile markers for the runners.

The runners had planned to start their run at Butterfield Park in Chino Hills and head towards the Soquel Canyon Parkway-Central Avenue area. They would head north on Central and run through Ayala Park towards the College Park area. After a loop, the group had planned to run back to Chino Hills on Eucalyptus Avenue to Chino Hills Parkway to English Springs Park, and loop back to Chino Hills Parkway. 

From there, the runners would have used Pipeline Avenue to Soquel Canyon Parkway and head east on Butterfield Ranch Road, returning to Butterfield Park.

“We just weren’t comfortable running in the poor air quality,” Mr. Thompson said. “But we had a great time running in Huntington Beach.”

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