I’m going to go slowly as I unwind this past weekend. I’ve got to be real careful to separate the awesomeness that was the Los Angeles Marathon XXV from the disappointment that was The Running Fat Guy’s performance.
About L.A. Marathon XXV – awesome awesome awesome. The best organized race I have ever been part of. My fear going into this was that this would be a clusterhump from the get go. I mean we had to park in Santa Monica and be shuttled to Downtown. That meant lines and traffic and …
Well, I was more than pleasantly surprised. I left home early anticipating trouble. As I approached Santa Monica on the freeway, the overhead freeway signs were on and directing us to off ramps and which way to turn based on your prepaid parking permit. I pulled onto the onramp in the left lane, turned left, turned right and was parked in my spot 50 yards from the shuttles by 4:20. I got my gear squared away and walked over to the shuttles. Wow. Dozens of busses waiting for us. They were loading three at a time. No lines. I walked up and boarded a motor coach. 25 minutes we were on the off ramp to Dodger Stadium.
Then, to add to the fun – Dodger Stadium was open to us! Grab a bagel, a banana, some water, and sit in my cushioned box seat along the first base line. All before 5AM! Wow! The rest of the day was pretty much the same. The start was delayed about 20 minutes, but for a race this size that wasn’t too bad.*
As many of you may know, I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I never moved away – not even for my college and advanced degree years. I signed up for this marathon because I thought it would be a great way to see the sights of the place that I grew up in. And the race organizers didn’t disappoint me. What a great race through a great city!
And to anyone that says L.A. is cold and lacks spirit – I challenge them to run this race next year. The community support was AWESOME! All along the route people from the community cheered us on. And they didn’t go away just because the elites passed. They were out for us back of the packers too. What an awesome awesome show of spirit and support. Believe me when I say that it was the crowds that pulled me across the finish line 5 1/2 hours after I started (more on that tomorrow).
I wish a video could adequately express my feelings about this race. It chokes me up still to think about all the people that stuck around and cheered me on through the thick and thin of it all. Here’s my take (Note: this video is almost 9 minutes long. Normally I try to keep it as short as possible, but I’m going to be selfish this time. Believe me – after you read my report tomorrow I hope you’ll understand why. Thanks for your patience!):
*Note: Just in case you are thinking about doing this race next year – be aware – this is Los Angeles. Some people who tried to cut the time too close ended up parking their cars on the freeway (I’m sure they were towed) and had to run up to 2 miles to get to Dodger Stadium. Sorry folks – the organizers warned you to arrive 2 hours early!!!!