Drivers on Pacific Coast Highway (known to L.A. natives as “PCH”) on Saturday afternoon were met with quite the traffic jam. The Star Wars event, “Course of the Force,” the first charity lightsaber relay, was making its debut. The well-paced parade (not quite as fast as 12 parsecs) began its journey from Santa Monica Pier to Redondo Beach in quarter-mile increments. The procession included two giant tour buses, Jabba’s sail barge, two escort-cyclists, and a couple of shuttles! Oh– and a good amount of motorcops to help clear the path!
That’s me, trying my best to keep up with the Sail Barge! Runners ranged from athletes to hardcore Star Wars fans to celebs, cosplayers, and 501st members. In front of the Barge is a participant shuttle bus, which transported the runners to each of our respective running points. While preparing for my leg, I watched motorists and spectators’ baffled expressions as the procession passed them. Although there was a brief traffic delay, I don’t believe folks stuck in traffic were too bothered by the sight of a Stormtrooper or Jedi running with a lightsaber! Hell, the ice cream in the trunk can melt, this is way cool!
Participants were asked to show off their best Star Wars costumes, and were given the choice to walk, jog, or run! I intended to run my entire quarter mile (before I knew it was uphill!).
My best friend and her husband created this custom-made athletic outfit for me which included the Imperial Logo on the front and the intimidating phrase “The Chosen One” on the back. I also wore my Darth Vader belt since I knew I’d be able to run in it.
Photo above was taken by a photographer on the Sail Barge and is part of the official Star Wars Flickr photostream.
And here’s my view of the CoTF Crew!
Meanwhile, in the participant shuttle bus, the CoTF organizers and group leaders were helping us every step of the way! They led the entire procession and dropped off runners at their respective stops! My shuttle comprised the participants in the first running group for the event– a couple of father-son duos, Clone Trooper Captain Rex, Luke Skywalker, the Emperor, Jedis, and non-costumed fans. We had a great team!
Photo of Lawrence Green costumed as Luke Skywalker was taken by Matt Martin. Lawrence’s costume was spot-on!
A Jedi and his Padawan getting ready to board the shuttle! Younglings were allowed in the event as long as they ran with an adult. So adorable!
I have to give a lot of credit and thanks to the CoTF organizers, drivers, and local police staff. I think the hardest-working folks were the cyclists who escorted each runner and “protected” the lightsaber so that it can get to Comic-Con safely! And of course, proceeds went to Make-a-Wish Foundation!
Course of the Force continues Tuesday, July 10th and ends on Wednesday, July 11th.
Read more about what was in the swag bag and how to win your very own!