by Ed Avol 

The 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 expected.
(Cheyne 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 OA)
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 sizes. 
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)

My 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 come.
(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

Racing Report:
Marty Friedman, Ace Reporter

While the hardy runners were challenging the heat and distance in the LA Marathon, the speedsters (wimps?) were content to attack a 5K in Redondo Beach. And we were happy to have a cloud cover that reduced the expected heat, although the air was quite dry. The course was flatter than the 4th of July course (thank goodness) and a few malcontents, but not many, even grumbled that it was short (Editor’s Note: some were glad that it might have been!).

Perhaps the most astounding result of the day was Debbie “Rampaging” Richardson finishing as the 2nd Overall Female, in a blistering 19:50. The only woman in front of her (Sloan Boettcher) was a former neighbor and friend of Debbie’s sons…and is half Debbie’s age! Karina “Ballistic” Bird continued her excellent speed demonstration with a 5th Overall in the women’s ranks. Her time was 21:20. On the men’s side, local talent David Cardona easily cruised the course to win in 15:35. Bill “Whirlwind” Weber and Jon “Mach Speed 2” Megeff were 4th and 5th overall, in 16:51 and 17:03 respectively. Not far behind was Humberto “Superman” Sanchez, debuting in his first race as a Master, in 17:39.

In addition to “Rampaging”, we had 3 more women AG winners. Cheryl  “Rolling” Rose took the 55’s, Sheila “Driven” Daniels aced the 60’s and naturally Sue “Rebounding” Reinhardt conquered the 65’s. Marian “Dynamo” Drahnak was 4th in her AG and Corrine “Stealthy Sandbag” Schratz was 2nd in her AG; I refuse to identify that division.

Our other notable women finishers included Amy “Bounding” Boland, Risa “Karma” Kahn and LaToya “Sublime” Stallworth. Paige Sullivan, Kevin’s talented daughter, zipped through the course, pacing Coach Ed for a bit midway before turning up her headset to listen to some tunes. Marina Garcia “Sneaky” Sanchez showed her post-baby strength with a 37:29, pushing the stroller with racing wannabe Miles Sanchez, as he checked out what this racing stuff is all about. And Gretchen “Nerveless” Newman ran while “Mischievous” Martin enjoyed the course from his stroller, though through much of the race he was busy playing electronic games – kids!

In addition to “Superman” and “Mach Speed 2”, there were 3 more men’s AG winners. Ed “Air Mail” Avol continues his comeback in the 60’s. Marty “Flying” Friedman took the 65’s (but felt his time benefited from a short course). And Pat “Wingman” Wickens ran strong in the 70’s.

We had a bunch of AG 2nds. Jason ”Shooting” Shamaly ran a strong PR time of 19:21 in the 40’s. He didn’t want to hear anything about a short course, but would have PR’d regardless. James “Ramjet” Reinhardt blazed to a 19:14 in the 45’s. Jim “Nuclear” Newman was 2nd in the 55’s. Leo “Butane” Burzynski was 3rd in the same division. Pat “Stealth” Saraceno continued his strong running finishing behind “Air Mail” in the 60’s and Jack “Mad Jack” McDowell finished behind “Flying” in the 65’s. And if Kevin “Swift” Sullivan expects recognition for his 19:29, 3rd in the tough 50’s, he will have to print neater race entry forms; The results displayed Keu NSullivan, but please don’t blame Race Wire for that.

You can check out the times of you and your competitors at, or go to Village Runner for a link (under Southern California) to the results.

Marty Friedman & Ed Avol, reporting

Do you think that an 8K National Championship for old timers would attract any fast runners? You’d better believe it! Over 260 gray hairs, no hairs, dyed hairs… took to the streets of Brea to compete in one of the few National races held on the West Coast. And fast times wasn’t just for the young’ns…case in point: two 60 year olds (one from Seattle, one from Tennessee) were just nipped at the finish by Club Ed’s fastest Master, Jon “Mach Speed 2” Megeff. Jon’s time of 28:16 was hardly pedestrian; he was 6th in the 50-54 AG (SIXTH!). And our women weren’t standing around either - our fastest flying female finisher (say that 5 times fast!) was Debbie “Rampaging” Richardson, 4th in her AG at 33:01.

Before we get to “us”, words of respect, admiration, and awe for the 260+ Masters who competed are in order. If only the AARP was at the Awards Ceremony! Here are some highlights (and keep in mind this was a rolling 4.97 mile course, with a one mile hill in the middle):

First Male: Greg Mitchell (41), Oregon, 24:27
First Female: Cassandra Henkiel (44), Texas, 29:17
First M45-49: Andrew Duncan (47), Nevada, 25:53
First W45-49: Tania Fischer (48), California, 29:33
First M50-54: Francis Burdett (50), Massachusetts, 26:50
First W50-54: Kathleen Phair (54), California, 32:29
First M55-59: Brian Pilcher, California, 27:24
First F55-59: Suzanne Morris (57) California, 32:24
First M60-64: Rick Becker (60), Washington, 28:19
First W60-64: Christine Kennedy (60), California, 31:27 NEW AMERICAN RECORD
First M65-69: Ignacio Jimenez, (65), California, 31:00
First W65-69: Jo Anne Rowland (66), California, 38:57
First M70-74: Jan Frisby (70), Colorado, 32:24
First F70-74: Norma Thomas (72), California, 43:29
First M75-79: Neal Chappell (75), Nevada, 38:59
First W75-79: Pat Herr (77), California, 57:20
First M80-84: Bob Rice (80), California, 48:06
First M 85-89: Gunnar Linde (86), California, 58:40
There was heated competition in the team event, as well. Team rules: up to five runners on a team, fastest three scored, total time counts). Our W50-59 team (sorry about the age identification ladies) was 4th of 10 teams. Our flying youngsters included “Rampaging” Richardson (33:01), Renee Williams “Scurrying” Smith (34:42), and Diane “Sleek” Silva (35:52)...with newcomer (to Club Ed) Julie “Mischievous” McKinney (40:00) filling out the fleet team. Karina “Ballistic” Bird ran a great race, PR-ing by half a minute in 35:34. Unfortunately we couldn’t field a team in her age group (40-49), so she only competed as an individual…maybe next year?

We had 2 high placing groups in the M50-59 category. The first team, comprised of “Mach Speed 2” Megeff, Jake “Cyclone Courtney (29:18), Rich “Gusting” Gust (29:26) and Mark “Speedy” Shalvarjian (29:38) finished 3rd of 16 teams. Our 2nd team, including Rick “Dashing” Dodson (30:17), Chuck “Kamikaze” Kaminski (31:33), Kevin “Swift” Sullivan (31:45), Mark “Streaking” Silva (31:55), and Jim Tornado” Torii (33:58)  finished 5th.
In the 60-69 division, a team led by Coach Ed “Air Mail” Avol (34:17), finished 5th of 13 teams. He was supported by Steve “Notorious” Notaro (35:49), Marty “Flying” Friedman (36:38), and Jack “Mad Jack” McDowell (39:38). “Flying” had teased “Air Mail” that if he could run under 29, the team could stay out of last place. As it turned out, if “Air Mail” had run sub-29, the team still would have finished 5th!

We had 2 club runners in the Open “regular” race, referred to  several as “the kiddies’ race” . Leo “Butane” Burzynski is continuing his comeback, finishing in 42:29. Aaron “Meteor” Munger might have finished 20th overall in 27:48, but he suffered “a clothing malfunction” – and improperly attached his timing chip, so he wasn’t listed in the official finish. Rookie mistake?

A benefit of being “old” and running in the Masters National race was that it started a half hour earlier than the Open race. Therefore, the Masters finished earlier and had a head start to the food court (where there was LOTS of food to sample --the best finish line expo ever?). “Gusting” Gust sampled everything in sight, and “Cyclone” Courtney ate miniature bundt cakes until he dropped. “Flying” Friedman couldn’t decide if he liked the bundts or chocolate chip cake samples better. Several of us may have added back all the calories we burned off in the race!

Congrats to all; we have some work to do; the 2016 National 8K will also be in Brea next February!