The annual Moonlight Run & Walk, a beloved Palo Alto tradition held under the full harvest moon, resumed in person at the Baylands on Friday night for the first time in two years.
The event, presented by the Palo Alto Weekly and city of Palo Alto, drew about 1,500 people. The evening started at 7 p.m. with a 5K walk, followed by a 5K run, 10K run and half marathon. For the full race results, visit acop.racetecresults.com.
The top three finishers in the 5K run were all teens from the Midpeninsula. Kenji Tella and John Miller, both 17-year-old Palo Alto residents, took first and second places, respectively. Tella clocked in a net time of 16 minutes and 42 seconds. He was followed by Miller, who was seven seconds behind him. Jake Seley, 15, of Los Altos, came in third at 17 minutes and 40 seconds.
It was also another close finish in the 10K run. Eoin O'Connell, 16, of Palo Alto, took the top spot with a time of 33 minutes and 55 seconds. He was followed by Chris Holve, 32, also of Palo Alto, who completed the race in 34 minutes and 10 seconds. Eric Buysse, 34, of Los Altos, secured third place with a time of 35 minutes and 14 sceonds.
The half marathon, first introduced in 2018, also saw narrow finish times between the top three runners. Adrian Amaral, 32, came in first, clocking in a time of one hour, 20 minutes and 49 seconds. Andrew Schoenen, 16, of Palo Alto, finished a second after Amaral. Emile Choghi, 30, also of Palo Alto, walked away with third place. He recorded a time of one hour, 20 minutes and 58 seconds.
The event also marked the first year of the annual Parthasarathy Running Free Prize, a monetary award given to the fastest runner in the 70+ age group of the 10K run. The award was created by a local family, who wishes to remain anonymous, in memory of their father. "He ran till he was 83 simply for the pure joy the freedom gave him," the family shared in an email. "This race was his sole purpose of visiting Palo Alto." This year's winner of the Parthasarathy Running Free Prize is Zachary Brandt.
Since early August, people also had the option to participate virtually.
The Moonlight Run & Walk kicks off the Palo Alto Weekly's Holiday Fund, a giving campaign that collects donations that are turned into grants for nonprofits serving Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.
This year's corporate sponsors were Stanford Health Care, Kaiser Permanente, DeLeon Realty, Facebook, Wealth Architects, Stanford Federal Credit Union, the Wilson Sonsini Foundation, Sutter Health/Palo Alto Medical Foundation and The Six Fifty.