Our culture today is fascinated with celebrities. It is evidenced in the success of magazines like People and Us, in the growing popularity of celebrity gossip websites, and even in the reading habits of visitors to CRN. On the home page, you’ll notice one of our most popular articles is Mark’s 25 Celebrity Marathon Runners. The post is so popular that it was even parodied a few weeks ago by Mike Antonucci—Celebrities Who Have Never Run a Marathon.
Just recently, the exclusive rights to the first Brangelina baby pictures were sold for an unfathomable $14 million, and before we go any further, if you don’t know who Brangelina refers to (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) then the remainder of this article might not be for you.
In my own attempts at celebrity gawking from behind the safety of my computer screen, I came across one of the latest crazes to hit Beverly Hills, a running tour called “Running from the Paparazzi” offered by Off ‘N Running Tours. The Running from the Paparazzi tour takes you on a 4-mile jog along Wilshire Boulevard, Rodeo Drive and through the chic areas of Beverly Hills, where you can enjoy the upscale sights, imagine what it would be like to drop $250 on lunch and with any luck, perhaps even spot a celeb or two.
It’s a unique idea for a tour and it is done in a casual and fun atmosphere. Cheryl Anker, founder of Off ‘N Running Tours, was kind enough to respond to some questions that I had about the tour:
CRN: Do you always see a celebrity on the tour? What happens if not?
Cheryl Anker: There are never any guarantees to see celebrities in this town. We go out on a run, heading to where the paparazzi hang out, in hopes of seeing someone. If not, we usually chat with the Paparazzi. I think most of the runners that participate know it is really a play on words. We have seen some celebs, many are not very well-known, but their pictures are taken anyway. It is the experience, not who you see.
CRN: Who are some of the bigger name celebrities that you have seen?
C.A.: I have seen Sidney Poitier during an Office Depot stop and George Lopez got out of his car to have a group picture taken with us. He offered and we gladly accepted.
CRN: You mention that the tour is for runners and walkers of all fitness levels. Do you try to group people by fitness level for the tours or does the tour move at the pace of the slowest member of the group?
C.A.: People need to be able to run or walk 4 miles. This is not a race at all, and people are discouraged from running fast. We have small groups so everyone stays together. We make stops along the way since people are running through Beverly Hills and want to see some sights, unlike being on a tour bus that just flies by the area.
CRN: How much time does the tour typically take?
C.A.: The tours take 90 minutes, so you can see, this is not fast. It is very casual and fun. Fun is the key here.
CRN: Have you ever had any famous runners take the tour?
C.A.: No famous runners have run the tour, just a lot of journalists from the US and abroad, as well as being filmed for TV segments.
CRN: Do you have any rules or guidelines for when you run into a celebrity?
C.A.: I don’t have any in writing but I would hope that people use proper etiquette. We are not stalking or chasing anyone. The most fun most of our tours offer is meeting the Paps on the street. They are familiar with our tours and they enjoy talking to the tour runners.
Cheryl was even kind enough to invite me to come and take a tour. It sounds like fun, but if I ever get the opportunity to visit the privileged 90210 zip code, I’m not sure that I want to be perspiring from running and all decked out in my spandex running gear. To be honest, I’m not sure that’s what Beverly Hills would want to see either. Also there’s a chance that I’d be the first person to break the ‘proper etiquette’ guideline when I saw a celeb because I’m pretty sure that giving sweaty bear hugs falls outside of the definition of proper etiquette.
In addition to the Running from the Paparazzi tour, Off ‘N Running Tours offers several other tours and will also coordinate a 5K fun run at your next corporate convention. For more details, please visit www.offnrunningtours.com.
Image courtesy of zoonabar at flickr.
Recent Posts from Ian’s Blog