In the 90s, the streets of Los Angeles were a dangerous place for Ken Nwadike due to gang violence. But while his middle school friends were on the streets after school, Ken had somewhere else to go.
The athletic programs offered by the Los Angeles Unified School District kept Ken engaged, physically active, and safe in his community. "The programs kept me fit and competitive," explains Ken, "I knew that if my grades were down then I wouldn't be allowed to participate in sports, so I excelled in academics to ensure my eligibility." These school programs also supported the other five children in Ken's family and assisted them with homework when his mother had to work long shifts to support the family.
As a teenager, Ken enjoyed middle distance events because they were fast but required endurance. He received a Track and Field scholarship and trained under America's Greatest Miler, Steve Scott. After leaving college he joined the Nike Farm Olympic Development Racing Team at Stanford. Today, Ken enjoys running local races and has recently completed an ultra marathon.
Ken is a race director who wants to give back. This spring, he is hosting the inaugural Hollywood Half Marathon. This charity race promises to show you the streets of Los Angeles as you've never seen them before.
Experience what it feels like to run down the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame as thousands cheer your name. Dress up as a famous celebrity. And best of all, support a great cause.
"The Hollywood Half Marathon is a way for me to give back to programs that kept me off the streets," says Ken. "We are donating $5 per race registration from the event to the Los Angeles Unified School District and offering half off registration for student runners."
Ken's focus is on creating an outstanding participant experience by maintaining a small race capacity limit. This way, runners can get the most out of their run and fully experience an event they will never forget. "My number one goal for this event is for it to be viewed as a great quality Southern California event that contributes to numerous organizations. We've been moving at a sprinters pace to create a memorable half marathon."
Here are some highlights that you can look forward to:
- Start/Finish near Universal Studios
- Movie Premiere Style Photo Backdrop with Red Carpet
- $20,000 in Prize Money & Medals given away at Universal Studios Citywalk
- Free Limo Party Bus Shuttles To Awards Ceremony
- Awesome Hollywood Star Medals for All Finishers
- Commemorative event t-shirts for all participants
- Live Music & Entertainment at Post Race Show
Some of the organizations that will benefit from this year's event include:
- The Los Angeles Unified School District
- The Los Angeles Youth Network
- The American Heart Association Start Program
- The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Community Foundation
Ken's company, Superhero Events, also hosts the Earth Day 10K, which was selected as the 2011 Best 10K in the Best of Active.com Awards. He directs the Veterans Day 5K and the Superhero Mile, which is a costumed family fun run.Register for a marathon in Los Angeles
Vanessa Rodriguez is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, an ultra-endurance athlete, and an online editor for Active.com.