On your march, get set, go for the OC Marathon

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By Michelle Gorta / Special to Viewpoints

By Michelle Gorta / Special to Viewpoints

With the cold morning air filling the lungs of runners and the sound of the horn initiating the start, the OC Marathon held in Costa Mesa began at 6:30 a.m. on May 2.

Since the Inaugural Race in 2004, the OC Marathon and Nutrilite Health and Fitness Expo have provided the opportunity for people of all ages to get healthy and participate in either a 5K, half or full marathon.

This journey to fitness started on April 30 with the Nutrilite Health and Fitness Expo.

The Expo not only allows participants to pick up their race day information, but gives vendors the opportunity to speak to these runners about healthy food choices, specialized running gear, training techniques and much more.

“The Nutrilite Health and Fitness Expo is important because the race participants come and pick up their bibs, timing chips, shirts and runner spectator guide which has all the specific directions in it for race day,” said Peggy Fort, president and CEO of California Marketing Concepts Inc and media director for the OC Marathon.

The expo had over 100 vendors and volunteers.

Approximately 25,000 people attended and were all excited and on the verge of impatience to get their race goodie bag and have their fitness questions answered.

“The expo is an opportunity for me to meet and support the vendors and sponsors who make the OC Marathon possible,” said seasoned marathon runner and photo journalist Dexter Emoto.

The event’s official sponsors included Nutrilite, Oakley, US Bank, Newport Beach, Massage Envy, Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, and many more.

These sponsors provided products, promoted future running events and offered support to all of the runners participating in the OC Marathon.

“I came to the expo to pick up my race information and check out the sponsors and booths,” said Judi Sulty, an expo and race participant. “My favorite part of these expos is getting the chance to see the latest fitness gear and health products.”

The Nutrilite Health and Fitness Expo and OC Marathon are not solely focused on the race but also support 21 charity partners.

These charities are selected by the board of directors and are active in recruiting volunteers and participants.

Peggy Fort expressed that in the last five years the OC Marathon events collectively have helped to generate more than $2 million for the Orange County charities.

The expo presented a Charity Heroes booth with volunteers selling raffle tickets for great prizes to support the 21 different charities.

“I came to the expo to support Team Jake,” said Brittin Englert, an expo and race participant. “It is a cause that hits personally because of a close friend. That’s why I run.”

The OC Marathon also presented a Kids Run the OC Training Program.

This program was designed to promote an active and healthy lifestyle for children, and speak out against childhood obesity.

“The OC Marathon’s main mission with the Kids Run the OC Program is to provide a running and training program leading up to the Kids Run the OC presented by Nutrilite event which took place on May 1,” Fort said.

Many marathon runners offered advice to the children on how to stay healthy and stay active.

In fact, the three main fitness tips provided by Emoto to race participants were: exercise, eat healthy food, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains and stop watching TV.

“Your body is like a car,” Emoto said. “You have to maintain it and treat it nicely.”

Participants attend in order to support one of the numerous charities, obtain race day information, or just visit and learn about how to stay healthy and fit.

In any case, the Nutrilite Health and Fitness Expo is the event that builds up excitement of race day.

“My favorite part of the whole event is seeing all the magical moments and inspirational stories unfold that an event like this creates,” Fort said. “It’s such a special weekend and can be life changing for the participants.”

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