Redondo Beach revels in the Super Bowl rush with the return of its game-day race

A Super Bowl 10k/5k finisher medal held up in front of the finish line at the Redondo Beach Super Bowl Sunday race
The Redondo Beach Super Bowl Sunday 10k/5k returned after going virtual during the pandemic.
(Christina Veta / Los Angeles Times)

If you were a South Redondo Beach resident trying to sleep in on Super Bowl Sunday, I’m sorry. Along with thousands of other runners, I’m partly guilty for it.

The 44th annual Redondo Beach Super Bowl Sunday 10k/5k shut down streets near the Pier/Harbor areas, with songs like “Play That Funky Music” blasting on speakers and Los Angeles Rams fans yelling, “Whose house?! Our house!” just after the sun came up before 7 a.m.

The Rams won their first Super Bowl in Los Angeles on Sunday in a 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium.

This year marked the event’s in-person return, after going fully virtual last year during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.


Nearly 5,000 runners competed in the 10k, 5k, “baby buggy” run and combo runs, according to official race results. Virtual races also took place, in which participants could submit their race times.

Corey Brunelle, 31, of Valley Village, Calif., was the top male finisher for the 10k overall, with a 5:14 average pace and 32:31 chip time. Lindsey Young, 38, of Long Beach was the top female finisher for the 10k overall, with a 6:29 average pace and 40:16 chip time.

So, in other words, while you were sleeping or starting an early Super Bowl LVI pregame (as I spotted some Redondo Beach residents doing at this hour), these two were running faster than it probably would take you to make guacamole.

Two women on small black trampolines cheer on runners.
Rams fans cheered on runners along South Catalina Avenue.
(Christina Veta / Los Angeles Times)

I can normally be found among the obnoxious family members chanting, “More beer! More beer!” after the race, but our noodle legs had other plans this time around. My loud Italian family has participated in this event — and typically crushed the beer garden afterward — for eight years and counting.

But this year’s race certainly felt different, and not just because we were too tired to partake in the postrace party. I can confidently thank Rams fans, who cheered runners on from their porches and balconies, for helping me earn a new personal record — my fastest 10k to date.

It’s hard not to run with a smile on your face when Rams fans along the course are jumping on trampolines with cowbells and pom poms, handing out shots of whiskey and blasting “Eye of the Tiger” from their open windows. Maybe if I had taken that shot of whiskey, I could have beat 86-year-old Nate Winer of Palos Verdes Estates. There’s always next year.

A woman in a Rams Football T-shirt holds up a bottle of liquor.
Locals along the race course handed out snacks and alcohol to runners.
(Christina Veta / Los Angeles Times)

I even spotted a young boy around 11 years old, donning a Rams jersey, who handed out Coors Light cans with his dad. Police along the racecourse didn’t seem to notice or mind.

Runners themselves were decked out in Rams gear and some wore creative costumes from head to toe in the 88-degree heat. If you think running 6.2 miles is hard, try doing so in an inflatable dinosaur costume. I can humbly report that said dinosaur ran much faster than I did.

A trio of men dressed as Disney princesses won the costume category for small groups.
A trio of Disney princesses won the costume category for small groups.
(Christina Veta / Los Angeles Times)

The event, in which Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand and 104-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor and Redondo Beach resident Joe Eskenazi were in attendance, included a costume contest. A trio of men dressed as Disney princesses with “I suck at fantasy football” headbands won the category for small groups, while a traffic cone beat out an impressive Bob Ross impersonator in the solo category.

A woman holds up her 10k medal at the finish line of the 10k race.
Veta beat her personal record for the 10k, and credits Rams fans for the encouragement.
(Christina Veta / Los Angeles Times)

The race marked my first large group gathering since the start of the pandemic. Of all events to come out of my hermit crab shell for, I’m thankful to have participated in this electric, collective memory, running with the beautiful Pacific Ocean to my left and Rams fans beside me.

As a crowd hovered near the finish line, taking photos with their medals to commemorate the day, an excitement hung in the air — the true mark of a race and a Super Bowl game that Angelenos would never forget.

Rams coach Sean McVay shouldn’t walk away to become a TV star. Instead he should parlay a Super Bowl win into a chance to build a bond with local fans.