The event will raise funds to benefit youth organizations, collaborate with local schools
By Barbara Burke
Special to The Malibu Times
A few weeks have passed since the City Council issued a permit at its Jan. 8 meeting to Malibu Moves, LLC, authorizing that business to host a weekend of running races, including a half marathon, a 5K race and a children’s racing event as well as a series of other movement experiences to encourage participants of all skill levels to turn up and participate.
By awarding Malibu Moves the contract, the city rejected the recommendations of its ad hoc subcommittee that administered a request for proposals and evaluated the submitted bids. The committee recommended that the contract be awarded to Malibu Race Series, which operated the half marathon event last year under the moniker Run Malibu and was operated by Malibuites Cassidy Case Benadum and her spouse, Blue Benadum.
Councilmember Marianne Riggins, an ad hoc subcommittee member, voted against the contract award decision.
Malibu Moves is owned by Erica Segel, who moved from her native Italy in 2011, spent five years as a personal assistant in Malibu, and started operating the half marathon in 2015. Until March of 2023, Segal was employed by Run Malibu. She plans to run the event in November 2024, according to the website.
“I am delighted that the city has awarded Malibu Moves an exclusive contract to operate the event,” Segel said. “I am taking the half marathon event to the next level by essentially reverse engineering it and analyzing the experience that participants will have to ensure they have a great time. Further, I am adding a 10K and am also including persons of every fitness level, including kids and our seniors who are sometimes left out of such events.”
Segal added that her concept includes a movement festival with booths where participants can experience the benefits of pilates, stretching, exercising for injury prevention, yoga on the beach, mindfulness, and meditation. Further, she noted that the event will provide local vendors in the health, exercise, and wellness sectors a spotlight so that attendees can be informed concerning all that they offer.
With regard to the community benefiting philanthropically, Segal stated that the event will raise funds to benefit youth organizations as the city requested and that her efforts will include collaborating with local schools.
“There is power in feeling that one is a part of a group of between four and five thousand people who are exercising,” Segal said. “It elevates one’s energy.”
Run Malibu, which lost the contract award, reacts to the city’s decision
The owners of Run Malibu, the organization to whom the city’s ad hoc committee recommended be awarded the contract, chatted with The Malibu Times about the council’s decision to award the contract to Segal’s Malibu Moves.
“It is my understanding that not all members of the City Council had reviewed the requested and submitted event proposals prior to the Jan. 8 meeting,” Blue Benadum, co-owner of Run Malibu, said.
“The decision was then made based upon the presentations,” he added, referring to the ad hoc subcommittee both reviewing the competing bidders’ written proposals submitted by those responding to the RFP and to the committee receiving live presentations from the competitors.
“The Run Malibu presentation contained little more than a thank you speech as they had already been selected by the ad hoc (due to their review of the proposals) and had already signed the 5-year permit with the city prior to the meeting,” Benadum said. “The Malibu Moves presentation contained both slanderous and accusatory language in an effort to win the vote through a smear campaign. Specifically, the speaker, Ben DeWitt, accused Run Malibu of conducting an unsafe event when he was the paid contractor responsible for the safety plan, as well as race logistics, during the 2023 Run Malibu half. If the proposals had been reviewed by the entire council I believe it’s a no contest.
“The Malibu Moves proposal lifts every organizational detail from Erica’s time as a paid employee of Run Malibu while offering nothing new or original. She was a paid employee for Run Malibu until early 2023.”
Benadum finished by stating, “ As one of the original founders of the Malibu International Marathon in 2009, I have enjoyed watching the legacy continue to grow and be a source of inspiration for our community for the last 15 years. Running is a big part of my family’s culture and we are passionate about what it can do for the health and happiness of an individual and for the community.”
“Run Malibu began as a dream 16 years ago,” Blue’s wife, Cassidy Case Benadum said. “Blue had the idea to bring something he loved — running — to Malibu, where he lives, and he laid the foundation for the legacy we know today. He and his late friend, Alberto Perusset, came up with the idea while running around Lake Tahoe in 2008.”
Cassidy continued, stating, “Ultimately, the legacy of our event is far bigger than us. This legacy is for the countless people who join us to discover self-empowerment, achieve better health or take on a personal challenge. It is for the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu and our incredible community partners. Our legacy is our community, and one way or another, the legacy of the event will continue.”
Cassidy stated that one way they are carrying on the legacy is with their run program for kids called RunGroms that they brought to Boys & Girls Club of Malibu and Webster Elementary.