2011 Los Angeles Marathon

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Report by: Eric Barron

Apparently, this was the undecennial year for the deluge at the Los Angeles Marathon. Those here eleven years ago will not forget the 2000 running of the race, and those here Sunday are unlikely to forget this one. The air temperature and tailwind were just about ideal for the runners, so it pretty much came down to how well you respond to running in a cold rain. React well, good times; lose motivation (or too much heat), just finish. Regardless, Track Club L.A. made a good showing both on the course and alongside of it.

It would be wrong to start anywhere other than with the women when recapping the TCLA performances. Meredith Coulibaly, Susanne McNeil Eng, and Ginna Ladd would have easily taken the team trophy if this race had such a thing. These women all finished in the top 30, and Susanne was the fourth female master, and first female Californian master. On the men’s side, Mike Davies was not focusing on this race, but he still went well under three hours, and Rit Tun managed that as well. Right at three hours, Nyron Bernard overcame the ghosts of marathons past and showed his potential to be an excellent long distance, not just middle distance, runner.

David Kent looked strong getting under 3:10, and Ravi Guha was happy with his effort. John Landry and Alex Thompson (bike Alex, not tall Alex) finished only a few minutes apart, though they looked worlds apart. John had a fresh smile for the crowd whereas Alex had a grimace. Still, for his first marathon in a long time, Alex acquitted himself well. This pattern repeated itself for TCLA’s next two finishers, Pat Adams and Carl Finer. Pat came down the last few miles looking chipper and Carl had the fixed look of one eager to stop.

Dialing in his eight-minute race pace with the ease that comes from experience, Philip Steinman ticked off another L.A. Marathon. Jeff Brettler may have earned the technical bragging rights in the household, but Kim Brettler earned the star performance in the family. Bruce Reisenfeld was reduced to the thousand-yard stare as he completed the last few miles of his tough day. Thuy Le looked strong as she prepared for Boston. On a day when the weather got the best of her, Wenise Wong resisted the temptation to turn right on Bundy and head for home, and instead gutted it out to the finish. Likewise, Dean Goodman was hoping for a better day, but survived smiling.

Just under four hours found Masami Fukuhara, Mark Harris, and Michael Berger all crossing the line, and Jennifer Liu came in shortly after that. Some wanted faster, some were fast enough, but all were glad when it was over.

The club would have had more finishers but for a few DNF’s. Perhaps the most interesting story for failure to finish comes courtesy of Frank Tai. Frank made the curious decision of riding his motorcycle to the race start while holding a cup of coffee (to overcome going to bed at 1:30 a.m.). No surprise that he ended up sliding out before getting to his parking spot, and his bruised hips were good for only 13 miles or so.

Although medals only went to the runners, this year the spectators deserved them, too. So, virtual medals to the tow trucks, including Scott Allen, Rab Brown, Steph Cahn, Su-Yang Liu, Anne-Marie Mowad, Mike Mahurin, Gary McArdle, Robert Newmark, Peter Keramidas, Susan Rendell, Alesia Sibrel, and Theresa Uhrig, and to the standing spectators, including Amy Aukstikalnis, Olivia Ghaussy, Jim Gidlow, Wayne Joness (who kept many of us semi-dry under the USATF tent at 23¼ miles), Albert Li, Brian Panosian, David Pullman, Jim Spear, Alex Thompson, Theresa Uhrig, Efrain Velasco, Noel Velasco, Lauren Weinstein, Bert Whitson, Clara Yoon, Lily Zepeda, and Peter Abraham (directing all 20,000+).

Average Finishing Time: 3:25:9.2
Averge Per Mile Pace: 7:49.5
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