PALO ALTO — It was a welcome sight to see and a return to “normal” for many this past Friday evening, September 17th, when the 37th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Moonlight Run was held for the first time in two years. Runners and walkers from across the Bay Area, most wearing masks, took off on their 5K, 10K or Half Marathon run/walk under clear skies.
Held at 7:00 p.m., the evening’s largest division was the 5K walk. Held for fitness and fun, this division doesn’t record finish times, rather the focus on completing the 3.1 mile route and fundraising for the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund, which raises money to support non-profits serving families and children in the Palo Alto area.
The nonprofits use these grants, which generally range from $5,000 to $20,000, to pair low-income students with Stanford mentors, provide grief support to children and adults in their native language, offer legal assistance to struggling East Palo Alto renters, feed local seniors daily healthy meals, and so much more.
The 5K walk had nearly 700 participants.
Later in the evening were the timed runs: a 5K Run, 10K Run, and a Half Marathon.
In the 5K Run, it was a close finish between Kenji Tella, 17 of Palo Alto, and John Miller, also 17 and from Palo Alto. The duo sprinted the final stretch down Geng Road to the finish line and finished with net times of 16:42 and 16:49, respectively, with Tella just barely edging out Miller in the final stretch. The women’s 5K was won by Ilan Jen-La Plante, from San Jose, with a time of 19:24.
The 10K was won by Eoin OConnell, a Palo Alto resident, who had placed 3rd overall in the 10K division in 2019. It was a sweet return for OConnell as he crossed the finish line in 33:55, besting his 2019 time by just over 3 full minutes. Emma Dohner of Menlo Park won the women’s division in 38:49, outrunning second place by 11 seconds.
The 2021 half marathon was won by Adrian Amaral, who finished in 1:20:49. Anitra Romfh was the women’s winner, completing the 13.1 mile route in 1:40:21.
Complete race results can be found online here.