CORE officially endorses the South Bay Master Bicycle Plan

Ready for 200 miles of new bikeways here in the South Bay!

CORE is very proud to officially endorse the South Bay 7-city  Bicycle Master Plan.

Over the life of this plan, it will make biking for you and your family, easier, safer, and more convenient.  This plan has the potential to even increase economic activity in our local businesses by making commuting to work or a weekend out more beneficial as we leave our cars at home and improve our health.

Please come out and support this program as it is voted upon by your local city council.  For more information, please visit the SBBC website or even CORE’s Bike page

September 24 – support South Bay Bicycle Plan and Vitality City

One month from today, the city of Manhattan Beach will play host as part of a global event by About – Moving Planet.  Officially endorsed by both Manhattan and Hermosa Beach City Councils, this event will have music, food, demonstrations, and workshops all relating to active sustainability here in the south bay.

This will be held at the 13th Street Farmers Market/Metlox plaza area and sponsored by  local groups that are improving our quality of life and well being.

The South Bay Bicycle Coalition, Vitality City, Transition South Bay LA, and South Bay 350

After one year, Sand Dune replenished

Just in case you have not been to the dune lately, a fresh pile of sand is now back at the top!  With an unfortunate 90% reduction in usage, the Dune was replenished just once this past year. 

Perhaps, this could demonstrate support to add an extra time slot earlier or later to help out  those that commute to work and are currently prevented from using.

The Hermosa 24 Ultramarathon Was Awesome!

It’s 3:30 AM, I’ve been awake about 20 hours and I’ve already run 20 miles, barefoot, in the deep soft sand between the Manhattan & Hermosa Piers. My knee is starting to bother me, and I’ve returned to base camp ready to pass the baton to the next relay runner. But none are here– 2 gone home with burnt feet, 1 left limping with leg cramps, one half wrecked knee, one gone due to nasuea along with a medical transport. Among the 17 members of the Team CORE and Team Structures relayers, only 3 of us remain in the wee hours to run back & forth. So I turn around head back for another 3.4 mile lap. Without getting so much as a sip of water.

Staggering along the beach, forced to walk and unable to run due to ITB tightness. There I sat, on a swingset not far from Longfellow, trying to massage the pain away. No go. And so on I went, finishing the lap in 67 minutes and still with no one to run the next lap. I was half delirious due to knee pain, dehydration, sleep exhaustion, cold, sweat and lightheadedness. The dream– organize & run on 2 teams and keep them both on the course for the entire day– was slipping away. How the heck did I get myself into this?

Tent city

It all started nearly a year ago when Christian Burke set out to run 24 hours and set a new world record of 83+ miles on the soft sand. And he did it! A few months later, I was helping to organize the Operation Jack Marathon and Christian gave us a lot of useful advice. And then Christian won the dang thing! BTW, we’ll back for the 2nd Annual Operation Jack Marathon on December 26. Christian was already planning the inaugural Hermosa 24, and I asked what I could do to help.

Clapping for Patrick Sweeney

That’s when I started running on the soft sand, Januaryish, quickly building to 20 miles, later running back-to-back 15 milers. I knew I’d be ready for anything, but I needed a team. So after 3 months of cajoling co-workers, I had convinced 10 to join the race. Meantime, CORE co-founders Todd Dipaolo & Chuck Trucker helped formed the core of the CORE team, and Todd recruited 4 friends to join and I found another runner, so we had 8. Of course, that meant I’d be running for 2 teams. More on that later. Of these 16 other team members, I think about 3 ran regularly. So we had our work cut our. The day began inauspiciously, as the sun was out full force at noon and despite the cool temperatures and strong breeze, the sand was hot. Hot enough to burn the feet of the first 2 runners for the Structures team– the last 2 to run barefoot. Well, besides me. My feet were tough enough to run an hour at a time, although they got pretty toasty too. And then we got in a good rhythm.

Keep on truckin'!

Through all that, I was running for 2 teams, 5 laps by 9:30 before a much appreciated rest. The running, I could do. Problem was, I hadn’t slept well the night before. I didn’t know what the heck to do for fuel besides drinking Gatorade and sucking down junk food. And I was spending all my down time walking around chatting & trying to coordinate our next laps as one runner after another went down with various ailments. So after lap 4, I was looking pale and forced myself to sit in the shade for an hour and consume some mad calories. Much better. After lap 5, I took a break and had some tortilla soup, chips & dip then laid down to rest. And as I rested the team disappeared.

Scott finishes lap 2!

So let’s see. While I rested Vinay’s leg cramped up, causing him to fall and forcing him to crawl for a bit– trooper that he is, he finished the lap. Eron tweaked his knee pretty bad yet volunteered to run more– thankfully we talked him out of that. Jenny had some pizza with ill-advised timing, and left along with Daniel for medical transport. Instead of 5 people to cover the 2 AM – 6 AM shift, we were down to 3 across 2 teams. And I was alone for structures. And that brings us back to the first paragraph. I had just completed my 7th lap, and normally I could easily stretch a 7 mile run to 10. But these weren’t normal times. So I had to just sit and wait. Chuck went to retrieve some fluids for me as I was splayed out on a chair and to check the tent for any hidden runners. No dice. Just then, Nathan returned from his run and we’d have to game plan together.

Last steps

And just like that, Nathan (above) volunteered to run a lap for Team Structures as Chuck headed out for Team CORE. It’s a Festivus miracle! As Chuck & Nathan complete their laps, I dragged a stranger off the street to run for Team Structures and I headed back out for Team CORE. Upon our return, the morning crew (mostly) arrived and our little drama was ending. Oh sure, 3 or 4 or 5 backed out of their last lap, but at the same time others stepped up, as Matt covered 3 laps in the morning. Dave (below), who almost didn’t start because of a bad knee, ended up volunteering to fill a hole in & running our fastest lap of the day as Team CORE completed our 26th & final lap. All the totals for Team CORE and Team Structures are now permanently stored on our Google Docs.

Dave toughs out lap 3!

Let's see how good you look after being up for 26 hours and running 27 miles in the soft sand!

While our drama was unfolding, another drama was playing out as Patrick Sweeney chased down Christian’s 2010 record. He needed 25 laps, and looked solid to take it. I had hoped to run with Patrick the first lap, but he surprised me by blazing through lap 1 in a ridiculous 34 minutes– hard to do running all out, let along simply as a warm up. Of course, Patrick slowed as the race progressed, but he still looked set to run/walk 25+ laps. Patrick was finishing his 25th & record setting lap just as I was heading out for number 9. Pretty cool! I passed Patrick about 16 times on the course, none more memorable than the last lap.

High five!

Patrick Sweeney breaks the 24 hour record for running in the sand
I missed that mini-hoopla, but caught it after his final lap. Was glad to pass Patrick again on my return, and seeing him running lap 26 with 3 of the other solo runners was pretty awesome. What was also awesome was Mickey’s Winners completing 39 laps, 131 miles. Alex Mendoza running over 60 miles… more amazing upon realizing he’s only 15! Many other stories, one sure to follow soon from the verbose one Bourbon Feet (aka Patrick Sweeney) and possibly from Christian Burke. Before closing with a few pics, I’ll throw a quick link to the results & official race photos. I survived pretty good, legs not a touch of sore after 30+ miles barefoot in the deep soft sand (more like 40 effort wise on any other surface) with some tender feet and a sore back. The kids found a good use for those red balls that lined the course, all had fun and the whole group seemed to catch the sand running bug, already setting up monthly runs now and weekly runs later. Enjoy!


The once & present kings!


Meanwhile, back at camp...

Matt & Sara

May Update

May Update

sand dune, moai, bike racks

Wow – seems like the summer we missed in 2010 is finally here!

Before reading on, I was hoping you could indulge me here for a moment:
Q.  What does our Sand Dune and contemporary civil rights have in common?
A.   Unless you remain active and participate in the process, access to both tend to slip away!
While this may sound a bit of a stretch, thanks to your collective effort in 2010 by writing city council, attending meetings, and even writing to the local media, we were able to say “yes to exercise” and re-open the Sand Dune (albeit with significant restrictions).

This Tuesday, the City Council will be revisiting the Sand Dune once again (agenda here).  While we are genuinely happy that the local neighborhood is satisfied with last year’s compromise, we nevertheless, feel that an 80% reduction in usage was draconian and simply overkill.  For example, if you live in Manhattan Beach and must commute to work (like a large number of us), the opportunities that you can use the Dune practically do not exist as the reservation system only has a few slots per day that exclude most of those who must drive to work.

During the next couple of days, we urge you to write to our city council to express your personal experience as well as provide any constructive suggestions you may have since the Dune has been re-opened.  Also, feel free to include CORE’s three basic requests as well.   Please copy the city manager, David Carmany, and include your Manhattan Beach address.  Don’t forget, each letter has significant impact to our city leaders.

In the meantime, here are a few events that some CORE founders have been personally involved in and encourage your participation:

Vitality City / Blue Zone in partnership with Beach Cities Health District

  • Manhattan Beach residents have a very unique opportunity to involve themselves in many new recreational and exercise activities that will be sponsored by our very own Beach Cities Health District.  While you can read about the entire program and its founder in this great article, we encourage every single one of you to sign up for the Moai initiative that just began last week and is still open.  These are local walking groups offered at different times within your neighbors that occur right in your own neighborhood!  It turns out that creating these type of long term social connections may have just as much impact on health and life expectancy than what you eat!

Bike Racks

  • If you or your family do not bike, than you probably do not realize how few bike racks there are in this city!  Next week, this year’s Leadership Manhattan Beach class will be installing 45 new custom bike racks around town.  As other cities have proved, increased bicycle infrastructure not only encourages more people to leave their cars at home and exercise, but also increase local economic activity as well.   If you would like to be more involved with improving Manhattan Beach’s bicycle infrastructure, we would encourage you to sign up at the South Bay Bicycle Coalition and be part of the development of the South Bay Bicycle Master Plan.

Hermosa 24

  • About six months ago CORE helped organize and support Operation Jack, the first charity marathon here in Manhattan Beach.  On June 18th, join our CORE team in another charity run – the Hermosa 24.  Last year, Christian Burke, set a Guinness Book of World Records by running in our sands for 24 hours.  This year, run on your own, field your own team, or join our team for a unique experience on our beaches!

As usual, free to contact us with any thoughs, ideas or suggestions about other local outdoor issues.

On behalf of CORE,
Bill Hory, co-founder
Manhattan Beach

Hermosa 24 Ultramarathon & Relay

Last year, Christian Burke ran 24 hours on the soft sand between the Manhattan & Hermosa piers and set a new Guinness World Record by jogging 83 miles. This year, he’s back with the Hermosa 24, an event that will be even bigger & better. It’s both an ultramarathon for solo runners, and a relay race for teams of athletes. All on the weekend of June 18-19. CORE is going to enter a team of 10 runners, and we’re still looking for a few more people to round out the crew. If you’re interested in joining, just leave a comment below or send an email to Christian is a long time ultra marathoner, and even won the Operation Jack Marathon held in December right in Manhattan Beach. It will be a great event!

Manhattan Beach City Council Questionnaire

As you probably know, there will be an election on March 8th for two city council positions.  Each of the winning candidates will serve four years, rotating one of those years at the position of Mayor.  Unlike larger cities, these are not what we would consider salaried positions and specific income information can be found here

Why vote?  Believe it or not, your vote actually matters as only 43 votes separated last city council elections.  Not only does City Council decide upon the most important issues affecting our city, once elected, incumbents typically seek and win a second term – extending their service to the year 2019!

CORE offered six question to three candidates, Amy Howorth (contact), David Lesser (contact), and Kathleen Paralusz (contact) regarding some of the issues that are relevant to CORE members (#4 & #5 relate to the Sand Dune)

We would enjoy hearing about your comments so feel free to contact us direct or post a comment .

Question #1 – During the next four years, how would you support making Manhattan Beach a more bikable and pedestrian friendly city?


Manhattan Beach has the natural qualities to be a very bike and walk friendly city.  It’s good for the environment and good for our health to encourage such activities.  Vitality Cities is currently conducting a walkability survey, which will provide data that help us make some improvements. Information such as traffic light timing, location of crosswalks, and peak traffic routes will help determine safe and accessible walking routes.  Encouraging bike use is a complicated topic as our roads are pretty narrow here in the city.  I support painting “sharrows” on major thoroughfares to alert drivers to the presence of bikers.  Another partner in these endeavors is the South Bay Bicycle Coalition. They are doing great work that will help guide our council’s bike policies.  Of course, I support putting more bike racks in the city so it is easier to secure your bike once you ride it.


As a Council member I would actively support the work of the South Bay Bicycle Coalition  and South Bay Cities Council of Governments to make Manhattan Beach a more “bikable” city.  For the past seven years as a City of Manhattan Beach Parking and Public Improvements Commissioner and Planning Commissioner I have repeatedly urged our city leaders and staff to be more proactive in developing interconnected bike routes beyond our beach bike path.  My family and I are avid cyclists.  A preliminary network could allow our city to qualify for funds to develop additional bike routes.  Our city has an extraordinary pedestrian-friendly infrastructure based on our Strand and Veterans’ Parkway.  We need to continually explore ways to encourage residents to take advantage of opportunities when possible in their busy lives.


I’m pleased to be supported and endorsed by Todd Dipaola (former Environmental Task Force member and co-founder of the South Bay Bike Coalition) and have had frequent discussions with him and other residents about how to make Manhattan Beach more bike and pedestrian friendly.  I’ve been an enthusiastic supporter of the SBBC since they formed.  As we all know, change starts at the grassroots level.  SBBC has given Manhattan Beach a huge edge by obtaining a $240,000 grant from the LA County Dept. of Public Health to pay for the South Bay Master Bicycle Plan for the South Bay, I plan to work closely with SBBC and strongly support and advocate on behalf of their efforts to develop and implement a bike-network not just for our city, but our neighboring cities as well.

Being bike-friendly and being pedestrian friendly go hand in hand.  Once you bike to your destination, you need a place to park so you can then walk (rather than drive).  Another priority must be on installing additional bike racks around the city, including on public property (our parks, and our downtown and North Manhattan Beach areas, as an example).  I would also strongly encourage our local businesses to include bike racks, including Manhattan Village Mall.  The Mall is planning a renovation (which has been on hold for some time now due in part to the economic downturn).  I would like to see a design that not only includes bike parking but a plaza-type arrangement similar to what El Segundo did with Plaza El Segundo, only better to encourage more foot traffic.

A third item which does not get as must attention as say, bike lanes, is the continuity and upkeep of our current sidewalks.  Anyone who tries to walk around town knows that there are sections where there simply are no sidewalks or just as bad, there are streets where the sidewalk suddenly ends or is interrupted.  This makes walking more of a hazard and therefore discourages residents from walking at all.

Question #2: How concerned are you about safety for cyclist and pedestrians?
Safety for cyclists and pedestrians is an ongoing concern, particularly as we explore interconnected bike routes.


Very.  It’s one of the reasons the city needs dedicated bike lanes and sidewalks, particularly along our main arterial routes.  I’ve already had initial discussions with Jim Hannon of the Beach Cities Cycling Club, which not only leads bike rides but trains cyclists on safety.  They need to be a part of the conversation when the Council begins evaluating and implementing the Master Bicycle Plan.


Public safety is a top concern

Question #3: Do outdoor festivals like Concerts in the Park and Volleyball Tournaments need to be rolled back, expanded, or maintained as is?


The short answer is yes but it depends on the nature of the event, whether we can afford to add more events, and whether they would put the public safety of our neighborhoods at risk.  Ideally, it would be great if we could have more events like Concerts in the Park or Movies on the Beach, which are truly community and family-oriented events that everyone can enjoy.  However, the nature of those types of events is markedly different from and poses less public safety challenges than say, the Six Man Tournament, where we’ve seen tens of thousands of people converge in recent years – sometimes irresponsibly – on the beach and downtown neighborhoods.

The other challenge will be paying for the events – including Parks and Recreation personnel dedicated to staff and clean up afterwards – at a time when the City will be looking at additional ways to cut expenditures.  One option will be to solicit more private support to pay for the events (much like the case with Movies on the Beach).  It will likely be easier to obtain such support where the event is more community and family-based.

Amy Howorth:

Concerts in the Park is wonderful summer tradition for our city.   Downtown businesses are pressuring Council to limit outdoor events downtown because their revenues suffer during events like the Fireworks and the Pumpkin Races.  I love all those events and want to see them continue, but we need to manage them well so they don’t negatively impact residences (Concerts in the Park) and businesses.  I would not roll them back, but I would think carefully before adding more.

David Lesser

Concerts in the Park are terrific and should be maintained.  The Manhattan Open volleyball tournament is the subject of ongoing negotiations with a new operator and sponsor following the liquidation of the AVP.  I am excited by the opportunities.  The six-man tournament was properly policed last year to maintain a classic community tradition.

Question #4: Now that there is a fence and quota of users for the Sand Dune, would you support increasing the morning, evening & weekend hours to accommodate those working Manhattan Beach residents that must commute to work and currently cannot use the Dune?


I would like to have data for a full year of usage at the Sand Dune, including the summer months, before taking a position on increasing quotas. As one who used to love using the dune freely for exercise when I was not commuting to work, I am receptive to the issue.  But I would want to carefully consider changes to current use restrictions with solid data to avoid the circus of two years ago


Yes, I think it’s a reasonable request and I support reviewing the current system and making tweaks that make sense.  This includes exploring an increase in hours to allow residents to access the park but not pose additional burdens on the neighborhoods.  I think that’s one of the reasons why the quota is so important – it limits the number of users and minimizes the impact during the hours of operation.


The Sand Dune compromise has brought relief to the homeowners who live nearby. Council must take into consideration their quality of life. However, it seems that a working group  or committee made up of a few homeowners and few representatives of CORE could get to  an understanding whereby people who exercise could have limited expanded time before or after work. It’s a delicate balance.

Question #5: Given that city staff has determined that the local neighborhood can handle 50 Sand Dune users, would you be supportive of increasing the current quota of 20 if there is more demand?


As I said above, it’s a delicate balance.  50 is more than double the current amount of users, and I would say that if any discussion of upping the amount of users began, doubling the number would not be the place to start.  I would need to see all the data to fully understand the problem



As with my earlier response, I would like to have data for a full year of usage at the Sand Dune before taking a position on increasing the quota.


Possibly.  I am not opposed to it but this I think will be a more difficult issue to address than increasing hours.  We know from the previous usage pre-closure that the demand far exceeded 20 so I don’t think that’s the issue.  The issue is whether and how an increase could be implemented without having a negative impact on the adjacent neighborhoods.

Question #6: Following on the success of the inaugural event, as a city council member would you support the continuation of the Operation Jack Marathon half/full marathon which starts and finishes in Manhattan Beach (no public funding required)?


Yes, especially as a former marathoner myself (including San Diego, LA, NYC and Marine Corps). but I don’t agree that no public funding is required.  We’ll still have public safety costs associated with monitoring and ensuring the safety of the event.  However, I think the City has a great opportunity to support and add a fun, healthy, positive addition to the list of annual events that our community enjoys together.


In general, I’m supportive of charity events (marathons, walks, etc).  Many organizations apply for permits to use the Strand and so we have to look at the whole picture.  We can’t have an event every weekend, because again, that affects local businesses. Frankly, I was shocked to see that our businesses suffer as a result of these types of programs.  I guess not everyone eats a large breakfast at Uncle Bill’s after the Pier-to-Pier like I do…..


It sounds like fun!

Manhattan Beach City Council Elections

In less than ten days, there will be elections for two city council positions.  CORE recently submitted six questions to the candidates about the Sand Dune and other outdoor recreation and exercise issues.  Please check back for their answers.

New Bike Racks coming soon to Manhattan Beach

The Manhattan Beach City Council has approved the installation of new bicycle racks throughout Manhattan Beach.  The non-profit group, Leadership Manhattan Beach, will donate the bike racks as part of this years 2011 Class Project.  More information, including local media can be found here.

Comments from dune petition signers

In the last week, we’ve had dozens of people sign the new CORE petition. Some of their comments are included below.

Sally writes:

I give up! The on line sign in is too difficult to use. I had to get assistance from your office last time I used it. As a result of the extreme difficultly using the on line system I have quit going. I know this is what you wanted but it isn’t fair. I think the Dune should be open to anyone who wants to use it in the a.m. from 9-11 on weekdays.

Eric notes:

The current hours make it difficult for working families to use the park.

Kim implores:

I’m all for the expansion of hours and allowing parents to accompany their children. The MB Sand Dune park is a wonderful way to exercise before or after work during the week and enjoy time with family on the weekends. Please consider changing rules to be more lenient for working adults and families. Thanks in advance for the consideration!

Martin laments:

I work in Manhattan Beach and was a regular user of the sand dune. I used to spontaneously squeeze in an hour exercise in the afternoon. With the severe access restrictions that’s not possible anymore. I would really encourage the city to allow unrestricted access in the off-peak hours.
Thank you.

Suzanne requests:

Please keep sand dune park and remove the overly restrictive online registration process that only allows certain blocks. I would like to be able to register for one hour on a certain day, not a certain time block (or at least one hour at any time during a 4 hour block).