Sunday, March 15, 2015

L.A. Marathon

L.A. marathoners, with City Hall looming 
in the background (click on images to enlarge)

We woke-up at 5:30AM to catch an early train downtown to see the L.A. Marathon. Usually we watch it on TV at home; but this year Tim's good friend Mike was running, so we decided to go and cheer him on. We said we'd be waiting for him between miles four and five, on the far side of the Music Center.

We arrived at the Civic Center subway stop a little after 7AM. A man, holding a hand-made poster, got off the train with us.

"Do you have a runner in the marathon?" I asked him.

"My wife and daughter," he said. He told them he'd be waiting at Disney Hall, but had no idea how to get there and so followed us upstairs. As we emerged, we could see helicopters overhead.

"Quick!" I yelled. "The elite runners are approaching!" Professional runners leave before the amateurs: first the women, followed several minutes later by the men. Despite the time advantage, no woman has ever won the L.A. Marathon.

We made it to Grand Ave. just as the last few elite women runners were passing by.

"Go, women, go!" I shouted, clapping madly as our new friend headed toward Disney Hall. 

Last of the elite women

We turned right and walked toward Temple. A man with a "CHRIST" sign had planted himself across from Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral. He was blasting Christian rap music on a boom-box.

After a few minutes, the helicopters reappeared as TV trucks suddenly zoomed around the corner. They were tracking the elite men, who were running in a close pack. They were so fast I hardly had time to cheer. Other non-elite runners soon followed, as we strained our eyes looking for Mike, who said he'd be wearing a green hat and blue jersey.

The elite men—the runner in red (left) eventually won the

There they go!—camera crew and elite men

Hundreds, and maybe even thousands, of people ran by. We were on a downhill slope, so one running coach yelled at his group to use this time to recharge. Several people carried large crosses, others carried banners. We saw runners—males as well as females—wearing tutus and some dressed as superheroes. One man wore what looked like an Aztec headdress. Elvis was there, too.

Tim shooting the crowd

I was starting to get dizzy watching everyone run by and so stepped away, when I heard Tim yell, "There he is!" Mike was running toward us. What a thrill! We took a couple of photos and then he was off again, down the hill.

Yay, Mike!

Off again

Swallowed by the crowd

We waited a few minutes and then turned back toward the subway, but were stopped by the sound of drums on First Street. Sure enough, there was a group of musicians pounding on huge red drums. The sound reverberated off the surrounding buildings. It was all quite wonderful and unexpected and everyone loved it.

In front of the Music Center

Drummers . . .

And woman in green tutu!

What a great way to spend a Sunday morning! I think we'll be back again next year, even if we don't know any of the runners.

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