The LA Marathon: the view from the street…

by Ed Avol 
30th running of the Los Angeles Marathon was held on March 15, in
that in-between time twixt Southern California winter and spring…and wouldn’t
you know it, it was 72 degrees at race start and ~85+ degrees in the race!
Nevertheless, our runners went to the line, and ran to the finish…more or less.
Here are their perspectives, in their own words:
Ha ha,
I don't think I'm much help here. My only advice would be, don't do it. I knew
it would be hot and hilly going in, but it was hotter and hillier than I
Inman, 2:49, 78th OA)
Despite the heat, I still thought it was a great race (My
4th LA and my 12th marathon). I really enjoyed the new course more than I
thought I would, especially the Dodger stadium start (I was actually stuck in
the 9 min corral 30 min before the race and had to negotiate my way up
to Corral 1 in order to meet up w/ Rick Weis). I needed a 45 min last
10k to break 3 hours and with the heat and blisters on my feet I decided to run
pretty conservative for the last 6 miles, which ended up being a smart move, I
was barely hanging on towards the end. The highlight for me was the end of
the finish line area where you get released into a sea of people at the
Santa Monica Pier and everybody wants to give you a high five or a hand
shake. I definitely want to run again next year (I think it will be a
fun weekend with the Olympic trials) and I am hoping for better weather.
(Mike Cortez, 3:01, 157th OA)
I would describe it as an incredible event, and I thought
that the LAM made a huge decision to advance the start time.  (A little
perplexing about their “non-clock” decision though…)  Because of the anticipated heat, I went out easy, and took
it easy until about mile 24.  The heat forced me to hold back almost the
entire race.  In hindsight, even though I know I could have run a faster
marathon, this ended up being the smartest one that I have run thus far. The turning point for me was making it out of the VA and
realizing that my legs and body felt great.  If you feel good coming out
of the VA, then you’re having a good day.  I knew that from that point on,
I had the rest of the race under control (as opposed to other years where I
tried to hang on for dear life).
(Erik Ekblad, 3:30, 739th OA)
The heat wasn't quite as bad as
it could have been, but bad enough to mess up my plans. I went out at my normal
pace without pushing it, and was close to my goal 3:25 pace for about 15 miles.
But then the body started wearing out too soon, and I faded. The last few miles
had lots of walk breaks and slow shuffling on legs that were toast. Got in at
3:53:14. I did run into Mark Silva after the finish, who had a similar story.
Overall though, I was enjoying the atmosphere and not cursing the heat. The
crowds were great, although smaller than I remembered from a few years prior. I
got handed a bag of ice cubes by someone which I carried for a few miles,
placing it all over my body for cooling. I also had a shot of beer at mile 20,
because, what the hell.            
(Brad Angle, 3:53, 1867th OA)        

LA Marathon- first of all, I'd like to thank
the Club Ed angel who handed me a frozen towel around Mile 16 before Rodeo
Drive.   It was 75' at the start and it hit me around Mile 3 that I
had to slow down.  A game-day decision to enjoy the
LA course.  Katie (Faulkner McKellar) ran away from me at Mile 3 in
Downtown. That 1st Street Hill is a killer.  Then Mark
(Silva) passed me at Mile 18 around Wilshire Blvd, and gave me a
hug.  That was the nicest thing he's ever done.  Finishing in Santa
Monica and seeing Matt and Marisa melted my heart.  I know why I ran about
45 minutes slower than what I trained for.  So, in the end I
loved the whole experience. 
(Tamar Gamliel, 3:54, 1949th

I learned so much
from doing the LA marathon this year! In no particular order:
1. I can no longer "fake" a marathon. 16 mile long
runs faster than race pace will only get you to about 20 before the wheels come
off, no matter how well you pace it. 
2. When you are walking and someone tells you that "you
can do it!", it should be legally acceptable to slap them if you can
summon the energy.
3. The course is fast! Lots of downhill!
4. 3:30 marathoners come in sometimes surprising shapes and
5. The street person laying on the sidewalk in
Hollywood, blowing a crazy whistle and yelling "you're gonna
collapse!", was more coherent than he originally appeared. 
(Mark Silva, 3:49, 1614th OA)
lasting impression of this race is that it's fast becoming a world-class
destination event. The
spectacular course opens up quickly, so that even if you start well back in the
mass-start field (which I did this year!), there is plenty of road for everyone
to run their own race by the 3rd or 4th mile. The steep descents and deceptive
rolling ascents make this course much more challenging than the "net
downhill" description would have you believe. But there are enough
wonderful sights and crowds that your motivation stays high. I personally love
the wide open finish, where the last 1/2 mile is richly lined with screaming
spectators, pushing you towards that line.The organization was exceptional,
more than meeting the needs of over 21,000 runners in hot (though not as bad as
expected) conditions. Even the post-race finish area was well thought out, with
amenities spaced out. This avoided overcrowding during peak finish times, but
also forced runners to walk it out, rather than stopping cold. This
is my go-to marathon, and I will continue to enjoy running it for years to
(Rachel Ragona, 3:13 PR, 304th OA)
One of our runners is well-known and accomplished observer
of life’s idiosyncrasies, and already share his thoughts on the race in his
weekly newspaper column:
(Paul Silva, 4:23, 4211th OA)

Other Club Ed Finishers (sorry if I missed anyone!):
David Schwartz 4:31, 5051st OA
Rick McKellar 3:21, 459 OA
Katie Faulkner McKellar 3:22, 496 OA
Steve Weber 5:07, 8892nd OA
Morris Ko 4:00, 2384th
Greg Eng 2:54, 103rd OA
Leslie Gold 4:24, 4311th OA

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