By Bianca Kaplanek | The Coast News | thecoastnews.com | December 18, 2012
DEL MAR – Clouds and rain couldn't dampen the holiday spirits of the more than 200 runners and dogs who took part in the 21st annual Red Nose Run, a 3K and 5K run/walk hosted by The Low & Slow Running Club to benefit Fresh Start Surgical Gifts and the Semper Fi Fund.
Many, like Carlsbad resident Mark Johnson, had participated in the past. But Ali Johnson was joining her dad for the first time with the promise of lunch at Poseidon and "to pass on the tradition."
"We had a great lunch before and there's a great run after," Mark Johnson said. "Then it's straight to happy hour from here."
Kicking off the Dec. 14 event were Dominique Valentino, who sang the national anthem, and Cmdr. Gen. John Toolan with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton.
The Low & Slow Running Club of Del Mar, which includes runners of all ages and abilities, has been getting together for Saturday morning runs for years.
In 1992, several members started the Red Nose Run with about 40 participants who raised approximately $6,000 for Fresh Start.
Since its inception, more than $128,000 has been raised for that organization.
About $53,000 has been raised for the Semper Fi Fund since it was added as a recipient six years ago.
Fresh Start Surgical Gifts provides reconstructive surgery free to disadvantaged children and young people with physical deformities caused by birth defects, accidents, abuse or disease.
The Semper Fi Fund provides financial grants and other assistance to injured and critically ill Marines and sailors and their families to help defray expenses incurred during hospitalization, rehabilitation and recovery periods.