The 42nd Super Bowl 10K and 5K run in Redondo Beach is a tradition for plenty of residents. But few have completed the route more times than 81-year-old Stuart Ondeck.
Ondeck lined up with thousands of other runners on Portofino Way on Sunday, Feb. 2, to participate in the race for the 41st time. He has only missed a single race in its entire history.
He began running at age 40 just a few months before the first Super Bowl 10K in 1979 as running was taking off and said the race became a pastime for him and his late brother Paul.
“It just became sort of the thing to do,” Ondeck said in an interview last week. “We just kept coming back.”
Although the Super Bowl 10K is an annual tradition, Ondeck said he rarely competes in any other races. This year, he said, due to a back injury, he would only be doing the 5K race and mostly walking. He will still keep us his ritual of sleeping on his 27-foot sailboat the night before and eating breakfast at Polly’s, even though it’s not located on the sport fishing pier anymore.
“It’s sort of for old times’ sake,” he said.
Running, he said, brought a lot of joy to exercising and offered him the opportunity to take big adventures, such as a camping trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
“I could not have done that if I didn’t pay my due and wasn’t in good shape,” he said.
Also running in the Super Bowl 10K this year was Manhattan Beach real estate broker Brett Zebrowski, who challenged 30 people to a race. For every person who beat him to the finish line, Zebrowski committed to donating $100 to the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation.
“I like to put myself under the gun,” said Zebrowski, 46, who admitted he typically clocks about a 12-minute mile. “The deal is somebody has to wear the shirt, like the Facebook page and post a photo. I am going to do this for every local race in town.”
Zebrowski, who owns Palm Realty Boutique, said he devised the challenge both as a way to market his business but also to set a personal exercise goal. He was out with a knee injury last year and is expected to undergo surgery soon, he said.
“I really thought it would be a way to give me a goal and get back in shape,” he said. “My ultimate goal is to do an Ironman Triathlon.”