City of Laguna Hills Memorial Day Race Honors Fallen Marines

May 24, 2016

On Memorial Day, Monday, May 30 at 7:00 AM more than 150 active duty Marines and their families, along with more than 4000 citizens will gather for the Laguna Hills Half Marathon, 5K, 10K and Kids Run. Tribute banners honoring 25 fallen Dark Horse Marines who died during Operation Enduring Freedom line the streets along the race course.

Lance Corporal Jorge Ortiz (Ret), the Grand Marshal for 2016, will fire the starting gun from a military vehicle, driven by 31 year old Air Force veteran Phil Swanson.   Lance Corporal Ortiz lost both his legs above the knee in an IED (Improvised Explosive Devise) explosion on January 15, 2011 when he was attached to an infantry unit in Afghanistan.  Jorge spent over two years in recovery.

Among the runners will be Jorge’s wife Aiyanna Coleman, an Army veteran who served in Iraq; and last year’s Grand Marshal Sergeant Marcus Chischilly, a Darkhorse Marine who lost one leg above the knee.  He recently returned from competing at the ESPN Broadcasted INVICTUS Games in Florida. Camp Pendleton Marine wives’ running club, Stroller Warriors, will also return.

The race begins at 7AM SHARP in front of Saddleback Memorial Hospital in Laguna Hills, and ends at the Laguna Hills Community Center, where there will be an EXPO of vendors, refreshment, music and a beer garden. The Battalion will provide a static display of gear, vehicles and weaponry, where the public can meet and mingle with the Marines.

At 9:15 a short Memorial ceremony will be held at the EXPO at the Community Center, with presence of LAPES (Los Angeles Piped Emerald Society).  The public is encouraged to attend this ceremony, and greet Corporal Ortiz.   Also present will be the race’s 2013 Grand Marshal, Corporal Josue Barron, whose climb up 1stSgt Hill during the Battalion reunion made national news:

click here for story.

If interested we can provide interviews with Marines, Corporal Jorge Ortiz, Sergeant Marcus Chischilly, Corporal Josue Barron, Stroller Warriors (A Camp Pendleton Marine Wives Running Club).

This year the event is going solar, with a portion of the energy being powered by Barnes solar trailers. “The partnership between Barnes Solar and Renegade Racing highlights sustainable living. Healthy individuals and a healthy environment go hand-in-hand,” said Ricky Barnes, Owner/Principal Engineer, of Barnes Solar.

Race sponsors include: 

Saddleback Memorial Medical Center

Road Runner Sports

Ruby’s Diner

Laguna Hills Mall

Raising Cane’s

OC Brew HaHa Productions


The Toll Roads of Orange County


Honey Stinger

Smart & Final

Whole Foods



The event is produced by Renegade Racing.

What: Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon, 10K, 5K Run/Walk, Kids Races

Where: The half marathon, 10K and 5K start in front of the Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, 24451 Health Center Drive, and finish at the Laguna Hills Community Center, 25555 Alicia Parkway. Kids races start and finish at the Community Center.

When: Monday, May 30, 7 a.m. start time for the half marathon, 10K and 5K; 9:30 a.m. for kids races.

Race Information: lagunahillshalfmarathon.com; 949-975-8506; [email protected]

About Team Darkhorse

The 3rd Battalion 5th Regiment 1st Division Marine Support Committee is a Laguna Hills committee staffed solely by volunteers. Our mission is to provide encouragement, relief and comfort to the Marines/Sailors of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment, 1st Division Marines and their families. The battalion is known commonly as “3/5″ or the “Darkhorse Battalion”. The Laguna Hills Committee, known as Team Darkhorse, is designated as a charitable organization under IRS regulations 501(c)3. www.teamdarkhorse.org

About Renegade Racing

Renegade Racing produces running, triathlon and adventure sports events throughout Southern California.  www.renegaderaceseries.com

About Barnes Solar

Barnes Solar is a locally owned installer of residential and commercial solar systems. For 10 years, we’ve been providing custom turnkey systems, where planning, engineering, permitting, installation, and interconnection services are all wrapped up in one package. We also include unique financing options that are tailored to each home or business owner’s needs. Our prices beat the competition. Our personalized customer service is unparalleled. Give us a call today to discuss whether solar is right for you. www.barnessolar.com