By Katrina Van Duzee/Garden Grove Journal
Elvis and quality Mexican food have always been top priorities of GardenGrove resident and owner of Azteca Mexican Restaurant, J.J. Jauregui, but this October running a half-marathon has also been added to the list.
For over two months Jauregui has been training to participate in the first ever Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon on Oct. 24. More than15,000 runners are expected to participate in the 13.1-mile mix of music and running throughout downtown Los Angeles.
“I am going to feel on top of the world when I complete the race,” Jauregui said. “I love rock n roll, I love Elvis and I love L.A., so I figure there is no better place to run.”
Jauregui has been an avid runner since he was 21, but this is the first time he will be competing in a race over three miles. A recent death in the family along with the death of the Los Angeles of Anaheim Angels announcer,Rory Markas, due to health complications, have motivated Jauregui to enter the race and start being more health-conscious.
“Witnessing deaths of people my age around me and stress motivates me. If I don’t run more, I will turn into a slow fat guy,” Jauregui said.
More grains, eating a healthy breakfast every morning and runningeveryday are all part of Jauregui’s daily regimen, preparing him to run the half-marathon in two hours, he said.
With an iPod loaded with “cheesy love songs” Jauregui hits the pavement in Garden Grove daily and is often recognized and cheered on by locals who recognize the restaurant owner, he said.
“When J.J. decides to do something like this he takes it very seriously and is all about it,” close friend Susie Clisson said. “At our ages it is always good to be healthy, he is setting a really good example. Everybody should have something they love to do and do it.”
The race will start at 7:30 a.m. in historic Griffith Park and will travel past the Los Angeles Zoo, through Silver Lake, Echo Park and into downtown. The race finishes at L.A. LIVE. Keeping with the rock ‘n’ roll theme runners and spectators will be able to see a live post-concert by Neon Trees.
Participants who enter the race pay a fee of $100, which goes towards variouscharities such as the American Cancer Society and Grove of Hope.
The half marathon will replace the City of Angels Half Marathon, which has historically been held the first weekend of December since 2006.
“We are behind J.J. cheering him on. We think it is really adventurous of him to take this on,” Clisson said.
For more information on the race or to sign up visit http://los-angeles.competitor.com/.