On March 8, over 24,000 athletes from all 50 states and more than 67 countries set out from Dodger Stadium to accomplish a personal dream by reaching the finish line in Santa Monica, completing the historic LA Marathon. Ninety-one of those finishers were team members and Tribal Citizens from San Manuel, earning them top spots in two categories of the marathon’s Corporate Challenge – first place in the “Fittest Company” category for having the largest team and third place in the “Fastest Company” category for having the top five best finishing times for both males and females.
In October 2019, San Manuel provided employees with training resources to help them prepare for the 26.2 mile course, such as a paced training schedule, a professional running coach and the comradery and motivation of a team with a shared goal. Over the course of 20 weeks, San Manuel had 160 team members and their families who took part in training and practice runs with the team. Together they trained a total of 1,820 hours in preparation for what would be the longest run the majority of them had ever done. Running a marathon was a bucket list item for many and they motivated each other on all the way to the finish line.
A group of captains for the San Manuel running team was made up of leaders from across the enterprise who were responsible for running routes and gathering volunteers from multiple departments to set up hydration stations and cheer runners on. Those on the training team represented over 30 San Manuel departments from Tribal Government Operations, San Manuel Casino and Bear Springs Hotel.
“The team is a direct showcase of our work culture and exemplifies so many of San Manuel’s values in one effort. You see how team members work together, support and encourage one another, invest in their own wellness and also engage with the broader community,” said Brigitte Saria, Chief People and Infrastructure Officer and the founding force behind the team.
On race day, 91 team members completed the Los Angeles Marathon, ran a total of 2,384 miles and earned first place in the “Fittest Company” category for having the largest team and third place in the “Fastest Company” category for having the top 5 best finishing times for both males and females. San Manuel sponsored the Los Angeles Marathon and the training team in commitment to their Health and Wellness initiative.
“It’s rewarding to have earned first place in the LA Marathon’s Corporate Challenge, especially in our very first year,” said Brigitte Saria. “It’s the perfect representation of the teamwork, commitment and gratitude of this team.”
The San Manuel running team worked with Alberto Jasso, Community Outreach Program Officer, and marathoner-in-training, to identify five local charities where they could make donations on behalf of their team. The five charities were chosen based on their connection to the local community, Native issues and association with the greater LA area where the race takes place. The charities logos were featured on the race-day jerseys worn by Team San Manuel, and seen by thousands of runners and spectators. “These donations will help bring more awareness to the organizations and also shows how passionate the Tribe is about employee wellness and the community,” shared Alberto.
Donation recipients include:
Boys & Girls Club San Gabriel Valley (Monterey Park)
Inland Empire Lighthouse for the Blind
Childhood Cancer Foundation of Southern California, Inc.
Inter Tribal Sports
Micah House Redlands