WOODLAND HILLS : Medalist Will Lead Heart Run and Walk

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Valerie Brisco-Hooks will lead more than 3,000 runners and walkers through the streets of Woodland Hills on Sunday in the American Heart Assn.'s 10th annual Heart Run and Walk.

The event will raise money to help fight cardiovascular ailments such as congenital heart defects, high blood pressure and strokes, which affect more than 70 million Americans.

According to American Heart Assn. officials, about $117.4 billion was spent to treat those illnesses in 1993. The association finances medical research in areas such as heart transplant surgery and arterial cholesterol buildup. The association also coordinates educational programs.

Since it began in 1986, the Heart Run and Walk has raised almost $300,000.

Because it takes place just weeks before the Los Angeles Marathon, the event is often regarded as a warm-up race by marathoners in training. Not-so-serious joggers, however, can still run one of three routes--a 10K run, a 5K run or a 5K walk.

To celebrate the event's 10-year anniversary, Brisco-Hooks invited everyone interested to run the first 10 blocks of the 5K course with her. After most runners and walkers have completed their routes, a ceremony will be held to honor all participants.

The American Heart Assn. Run and Walk will begin at Warner Center Park Sunday at 7 a.m. The entry fee is $18. Registration forms will be available at the Promenade Mall through today. Sign-ups in person will be accepted from 6:45 a.m. to 8 a.m. Sunday. For information, call (800) 698-1156.

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