L.A. Marathon: Kenyans win; dozens hospitalized in stifling heat
Mar 15, 2015 | 3:34 PM
The 30th Los Angeles Marathon began extra early on an unseasonably hot morning, but temperatures did not climb quite as high as some feared. Kenyan runners earned the fastest times, some participants gutted it out while wearing whimsical outfits, and firefighters used their hoses to spray down the pack. For images and insights from Times staffers, read on.
The L.A. Marathon is wrapping up, and we're feeling accomplished but exhausted. For the latest updates, visit The Times' full coverage page . For details and scenes from the day, plus some context and marathon history, just scroll down.
Enter your mile pace or marathon time (and, if you'd like, find your friends' times on the L.A. Marathon website) and see how you stack up against people you know, previous runners and some unexpected participants.
Marathon participants who take more than 6 hours and 30 minutes to complete the course are not guaranteed medals or official finisher status. For the first waves of runners, that time has already passed.
At medical tents, runners seek reprieve from cramps, heat
At a medical tent just past mile 20 on Santa Monica Boulevard, more than a dozen volunteers in red shirts attended to the hobbled, exhausted and achy. One after another, runners popped into the tent, unplugged their headphones and fell limp into a folding chair or flat onto the grass.
Maria Maldonado, a physician assistant with USC's Keck School of Medicine, said she had seen people suffering from muscle cramps Sunday -- but not at a higher rate than when she volunteered at the same tent during the 2013 race.
"It's hard to say if it's related to the weather. It's probably a combined effect," she said.
Maldonado said the increase in "preventive measures" -- more bottle spraying and an earlier start -- seemed to help.
"If (heat) was a factor, she said, "it's been handled very smoothly."
Nearby, Kobie Gordon, 25, leaned against a post to stretch his legs. His neon green socks were packed with ice for his calves.
"I started cramping on mile 16," the dental school student said. "I think it might have been the heat. I got dehydrated a little faster. ... I should have slowed down."
At a separate tent near San Vicente Boulevard, runners Sandy Triana and Judy Campos grabbed fistfuls of ice as they took a quick breather.
"We're taking it very slow," Triana said.
"Too slow," Campos added.
The slower pace was necessary though, both said, if they were going to reach the finish line as the temperature rose around noon.
"I don't care if I don't beat last year's time," Triana said, "I don't want to get injured."
--Matt Stevens and Soumya Karlamangla
LAPD officer runs in full uniform to honor fallen cops
Kristina Tudor stood out from the throngs of runners wearing tank tops and sneakers who traversed the L.A. Marathon's sprawling course on Sunday.
Decked out in full-length police blues and displaying her badge proudly, the Los Angeles police officer was running to raise money for other officers who have been killed in the line of duty.
Several officers, also in full patrol attire, joined her on the run for miles at a time.
"Your quest to the #finishline inspires all of us!" tweeted Police Chief Charlie Beck.
As of 11:30 a.m., Tudor was at the 16-mile mark, according to the LAPD's verified Twitter account.
As runners turned the corner onto Sepulveda Boulevard near the 405 Freeway in west Los Angeles they were met by the cooling mist of a fire hose.
Around 10 a.m., firefighters with Engine 93 plugged a fire hose into a hydrant and let the water rip on runners.
As competitors walked and jogged by, some turned and opened their arms to the spray, hooting and hollering as they passed through.
"Thanks you guys!" one man in a white visor and shouted. "Yes! Oh, God, yes!"
"They love this," said firefighter Bryce Gutierrez, as he waved his hose up and down. "Some people have just come and stood here in front of the spray."
Standing nearby, LAFD Capt. Ray Robles said there had been "several incidents" related to heat and the general strain of the race, but he could not estimate how many and said there did not appear to be any more problems than a typical year.
"I think the cloud cover has helped," he said. "I don't think the heat has been as bad as we thought it could be."
As of 9:15 a.m., emergency services officials said 18 runners had been treated for undisclosed reasons. Six were hospitalized in stable condition.
"The kids are really, really skinny. Which might be one of the reasons they are also so fast in endurance races... For decades, many observers of the Kenyan success story have guessed that Rift Valley runners are dominant in distance races because they spend their childhood 'training' by running/walking to school and working in the fields."
Marathon veteran chugging along in 23rd endurance run
As he jogged down Santa Monica Boulevard, David Moore, 59, slapped the hand of a cheering volunteer and grinned.
The Moorpark resident was running his 23rd marathon Sunday, helping to pace a longtime friend a few steps behind him to a time under four hours. He said he was pleasantly surprised by the heat -- or lack thereof.
"I don't think it's that bad," he said as he jogged. "I ran Boston when it was 87 (degrees) and it was a lot worse than this."
He said he plans to run the Boston Marathon for an eighth time in April, about a week before he runs another marathon in Big Sur.
"The coolest part about the L.A. Marathon is the course. You go through Chinatown, Hollywood and you end up at the beach," he said "It's just perfect."