Schallert's Marathon Feat Slighted at Finish

Times Staff Writer

After Chris Schallert finished eighth in the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday, it wasn't the agony of the feet that made him sore.

"I was treated very badly," said Schallert, who lives in Canoga Park. "When I left to go home, I was furious."

Schallert was mad because the organizers of the marathon, he said, refused to verify him as the first Los Angeles resident across the finish line.

"They told me they didn't know who it was, but it was obvious it was me," he said. "The guys who finished ahead of me were either foreigners or not from around here."

Schallert wasn't told until the day after the race that official results confirmed him No. 1 among the L.A. entrants. Bill Burke, of the organizing committee, explained that the confusion resulted from what he termed "computer overload." Burke said that the situation would be corrected for next year's race.

As the top finisher from Los Angeles, Schallert not only won two round-trip airline tickets to anywhere in the world but realized his goal of placing in the top 10. Although his time of 2:19:42 was over two minutes slower than his personal best, he was "happy," he said, "because the course was tougher than I expected. It wasn't an easy course, but there were enough downhills to compensate for the uphills."

After the first 22 miles of the 26.2-mile race, Schallert was sixth, but slowed down after 23 miles when, he said, "my legs started getting tired."

Ric Sayre, who won the race in 2:12.59, had completed another marathon a few weeks earlier, a feat that Schallert isn't going to attempt. Before the L.A. Marathon, Schallert said he wouldn't enter another for a year.

"Ric's a different breed," Schallert said. "I could never do what he does, but I am thinking now about running another marathon in the fall."

Even though Schallert "could hardly walk," he still waited tables at the Mid-Valley Athletic Club on Monday, he said.

"I hobbled a bit, but I got some pretty good tips," Schallert said. "I guess people felt sorry for me."

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