The group of runners who made their way around the Pasadena Rose Bowl were small but determined.
The 3.1 mile loop around the Rose Bowl wasn’t intended for anyone looking to beat a personal record, finish the fastest or log in miles for the week.
The run was in honor of Kyle Ballard.
A Pasadena Police Officer who died 13 years ago after he completed a 10K at the Rose Bowl to qualify for the Department’s team that competed in the Baker to Vegas Relay.
Ballard was 30. Living his dream of being a Police Officer. A father of three boys under the age of 4 and was married to the love of his life, Laurie.
It was a heart attack that came out of a nowhere and a life cut short.
On Sunday, February 24th officers from Pasadena Police Department along with the Ballard family reunited to celebrate Kyle, his memory, his children and the lasting imprint he made with everyone he met.
“We’ve been doing this every year since Kyle died,” said Sgt. Roger Roldan, who has helped assist with organizing the annual memorial along with Commander Kelley Evans from the Pasadena Police Department since 2006. “We just wanted Laurie and the kids to always know we are here for them.”
For Laurie Ballard, the annual memorial along with the continued care from Kyle’s friends and fellow police officers has been a comfort for her and her boys.
“This makes me feel not alone. For me, but even more importantly for the kids,” Laurie Ballard said at the memorial. “Enough time has gone on that the kids have stability now, but they also get to see that their Dad was cared about and that they are cared about … I am so deeply grateful for everyone who comes together on this one day to remember Kyle. I always wonder if his memories will get lost over time, but every year, when we are here it’s a renewal. And it’s amazing.”
The memorial held on Lot “F” at the Rose Bowl included a prayer service and for those who brought their running shoes, a slow pace run along the loop in honor of Ballard.
Sgt. Roldan led the group through the Rose Bowl while belting out Military cadences to keep runners in step and ensuring everyone’s feet were landing in step.
“Left, left, left on left.” Sgt. Roldan chanted while runners called-back. “Low right. A low right, left.”
The small group of runners made their way through the loop as golfers, rollerbladers, bikers and other runners cheered them on. Nine-year-old Jayden Petrella, the daughter of Pasadena Police
Officer Brian Petrella ran alongside her dad, holding his hand, for the entire 3.1 miles.
“It’s a special experience for us to be a part of this,” said Officer Brian Petrella.
You can learn more about Kyle Ballard at: https://www.odmp.org/officer/18156-police-officer-kyle-russell-ballard