Memorial Day - May 29, 2017 - marks the 19th annual City of Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon, 5k, and 10K, Honoring the United States Marine Corps Dark Horse Battalion. This favorite Memorial Day running event takes place in the beautiful Orange County cities of Laguna Hills, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Woods, and Laguna Niguel. Runners and walkers of all experience levels are invited to come out and enjoy the Memorial Day festivities! With a half marathon (13.1 miles), 5K Run/Walk (3.1 miles), 10K Run/Walk (6.2 miles) and a Kid's Run (1/2 Mile), there is something for everyone! All events and the Finish Line Expo will take place on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, 2017.
The half marathon, 5K and 10K both start in front of the Saddleback Memorial Medical Center and finish at the Laguna Hills Community Center.
The Kids Races start and finish at the Laguna Hills Community Center.
REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN
2017 Finisher Medal
The top three male and female finishers in each age division (listed below) will receive a commemorative City of Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon, 5k, and 10K, Honoring the United States Marine Corps Dark Horse Battalion award. Awards will be available after the race on Memorial Day. Awards not picked up on race day will only be mailed upon request (a small shipping charge will apply).
Become a Joint Chief of Staff by 2018!
Over the next five years the race will have a different US armed forces themed medal. If you race every year for the next five years, in 2018 you will earn a Joint Chiefs of Staff medal to commemorate your accomplishment. The 2014 event medal honored the US Marine Corps; 2015 honored the US Navy; 2016 honored the US Air Force. The 2017 medal will honor the US Army.
HOSPITAL CORPSMAN THIRD CLASS STUART FUKE
TO SERVE AS
GRAND MARSHAL OF LAGUNA HILLS
2017 MEMORIAL DAY HALF MARATHON RACE
Stuart Fuke served in the United States Navy from 2007 - 2012 as a Hospital Corpsman, deploying twice to Afghanistan - once with 3rdBattalion, 5thMarines. During his second deployment to Afghanistan he was hit by enemy gunfire, which resulted in his medical retirement. Stuart was awarded the Purple Heart following his wounds in action, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Valor (NAM with V). Stuart is most proud of the second award because it reflects what he did, not what was done to him. Sections of the award citing multiple events are quoted below:
“…Without regard for his own safety, he ran through an uncleared lane to the front of the
Platoon to care for the wounded Marine...” “...Without regard for his own safety, he exposed himself to enemy fire to care for the casualty, ultimately saving his life…” “Hospital Corpsman Third Class Stuart Fuke’s intiative, perseverance, and total dedication to duty reflected credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”
Following his injuries, Stuart returned to San Diego where he underwent therapy for his injury. Though Stuart helped saved the lives of Marines, there were those he could not save, including one of his good friends who died in his arms, Corporal James Boelk. “We called him Baloo, after the bear in Jungle Book, because he was always very positive and good company,” Stuart recalls. Although they’d never met, James’ mother reached out to Stuart through letters and care packages when she heard he was struggling with despair. Through her care packages and letters, Stuart came to see and know strength in her that in turn gave him strength. He determined that if a Gold Star mother could turn her broken heart to helping others, he could too. Today, Stuart smiles when he speaks of her, and with affection refers to her as “Momma Boelk”. One of the marines whose life he was able to help save was Corporal Carlos Garcia (our 2014 Grand Marshal), whose children are now Stuart’s Godchildren.
Stuart completed his AA degree in Culinary Arts and is now working toward his BA in Hospitality, Food and Beverage. One of his duties while deployed was to prepare meals for the unit, and he found out that “I liked it when I cooked a meal that the Marines loved. That made me happy.” He credits his time in the service for learning what he enjoys.
Stuart agreed to serve as Grand Marshal of the 2017 Memorial Day Race because he wants to draw focus to the purpose and reason for Memorial Day. “Its okay to have a barbecue, or fun with your friends,” he says, “but take time out to think about and remember who we are honoring.” Stuart says. “I live and enjoy life to honor my friend James.”
Please come run in honor of Stuart’s fallen friends, and remember to stop by our EXPO booth to meet and shake his hand.
2017 Race Hat Design is Here!
All half marathoners receive a hat, along with their race shirt.
Additional hats available for purchase during registration for $12.
The City of Laguna Hills adopted the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, of the 1st Marine Division. This infantry battalion, nicknamed "DARKHORSE" is based out of Camp Pendleton. The City of Laguna Hills intends to donate $3 per race participant to the 3/5 Support Committee.
For more information on the 3/5 Battalion or the 3/5 Battalion Support Committee go to www.teamdarkhorse.org
Please join us after the race for
Beer Garden, Food Trucks and a DJ!
(open 8 am - 12:00 pm)
If you are unable to find the information that you are looking for, please call us at
949-975-8506 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.