2008 Los Angeles Marathon

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Report by: Eric Barron

Along the spectrum with death on one end and flying pigs on the other, hot weather at the Los Angeles Marathon lies a lot closer to death than porcine aviators. Perhaps some figured that because Los Angeles was experiencing its coolest winter weather in a decade, and it was foggy and 55 degrees only twenty-four hours before the 2008 Los Angeles Marathon, this year the runners would get a break. Guess again. Hopefully, given the near certainty of the weather conditions and the relatively late starting hour, no one runs this marathon for time, anyway.

No, people run the Los Angeles Marathon because it is there, and though several members of Track Club Los Angeles are training for the Boston Marathon, many in the club had nothing better to do on a Sunday morning than to head over to Universal City and run 26.2 miles. These athletes all deserve individual mention, but to sum up their experiences in a sentence (or, rather, the next clause of this sentence), the men could not handle the heat while women seemed to thrive under the sun.

Tyrone Black and Rit Tun led the club runners over the the first half of the course at sub-3:00 pace, but they both suffered hamstring cramps (Rit at 19 and Tyrone at 21) and had to slow considerably. Similarly, Mike Branch made it through the first 20 miles looking as if he would break 3:00, but as the course turned uphill at 21 miles (be sure to thank the course designer for that), he, too, cramped severely and slowed over the last few miles. Bruce Reisenfeld melted along the way, as well, but finished under 3:20. Cramps and heat also claimed David Kent and Michael Berger before they had a chance to finish.

Meanwhile the women proved that tough races were not inevitable. Susanne McNeil Eng finished fourth in her age group and she looked fresh over the entire distance. Running just as strong, and only a little farther back in the pack, Lorena Ocon and Jeannie Kiewicz both took eighth in their respective age divisions. Jennifer Liu also had great energy throughout the race.

Some of the men, too, had good races. Bruce Bair managed a negative split on his way to breaking 3:20, Danny Demsky ran a personal best to break 3:30, and Blair Tarr ended up right at 3:30. Setting a great example for the 14 students he trained in the Students Run L.A. program, Carl Finer finished a minute back of Blair. Brett Wolff bettered his time of last year by 50 minutes. Meanwhile, veteran L.A. marathoners Eirik Haenschke, Phil Kent, and Philip Steinman made the whole thing look easy.

TCLA was also out to support the runners. Stephanie Cahn provided early cheering, and Ogie Espinosa, Peter Glassman, and Brian Panosian comprised the tow truck patrol. Encouraging those on the course while getting in more than a few miles of their own were Erin Chavin, Ann Duarte, Susan Rendell, Rikako Takei, Sharon Yamato, Terence Young, and Lily Zepeda-White. Finally, a couple of TCLA’ers added a little something extra. Bert Whitson was yelling at the runners to smile as he snapped some nice photographs and Wenise Wong risked a night in jail by jotting her guerilla chalkwork cheers on the pavement just past the 19-mile mark. Come back next year and do not forget to wear your sunscreen.

Average Finishing Time: 3:27:10.9
Averge Per Mile Pace: 7:54.1
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