| Independence Day Classic supports cross country programs

On July 4, the Santa Clarita Runners Club sponsored its annual Independence Day Classic. The Santa Clarita Runners Club has hosted the Independence Day Classic for 38 years. It is the oldest and largest ongoing race in the community. Each year, the club donates proceeds from the event to high school cross country teams in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Nearly 700 participants donned red, white and blue spirit clothing to run the festive 5 km or 10 km course. Dozens of toddlers and children participated in the Kiddie K.

In 1984, when the Hart district consisted of only three high schools, the first races drew approximately 100 participants and each school received $300. Thirty-five years later, in pre-pandemic 2019, 1,000 runners participated and the club was able to donate $3,200 to each of six high school teams in the community.

This year, with the addition of Castaic High School, donations were split between seven schools. Although this year’s race had fewer participants than pre-pandemic races and the costs of running the race have increased, each school received a donation of $1,850, a total donation of $13,000 from the Santa Clarita Runners Club.

Representatives of the schools’ cross-country ski teams received checks at the running club’s summer social.

Over the past 10 years, the club has donated over $130,000 to support SCV cross country teams. Since these high school programs lack the financial support enjoyed by larger athletic programs, they rely on donations to fund tuition, transportation, and training.

Over the decades, many local businesses and corporations have sponsored the Independence Day Classic. The running club would like to thank this year’s sponsors, Industrial Metal Supply, RM Taxes and Business Solutions, Dr. Peter Porasik DDS, UCLA Health, Rob Gillard LPL Financial and longtime supporter Steve Watanabe DDS

Carl Pantoji, the club’s race director for 14 years, said he was pleased to see how the race has developed over the years.

“Santa Clarita Runners look forward to continuing the tradition of supporting local high school cross country teams and other non-profit organizations,” Pantoji said.

For more information on becoming a sponsor of next year’s Independence Day Run, please contact Santa Clarita Runners at

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