Four runners finish what they started

Samantha Gutierrez, a runner who was featured in The Times last week leading up to Sunday’s L.A. Marathon, completed the event, her first ever, in 4 hours 26 minutes and 12 seconds.

“The feeling of crossing the finish line was something I will never forget!” Gutierrez, 33, of Mar Vista wrote in a text message. “Especially when I looked down and saw my shoe drenched in blood ... yay! Bloody blisters, I’m a runner!”

Eladio Mendoza, 65, of Canoga Park, completed his 27th L.A. Marathon in 5:26:09. Four of his daughters and two granddaughters ran with him, according to Connie Mendoza, one of his daughters.

Christian Alvarado, the 26-year-old legally blind runner from Mid-City, completed his 11th marathon in 9:11:39, the same time as his guide, Tania Gongoria, 22, of Van Nuys. It was Gongoria’s first marathon.


“The experience, it was out of this world,” Gongoria said. “When we first started the race, everyone around us said, ‘Hey, it’s Christian, from the newspaper!’ Runners said, ‘You really inspired me,’ and they would come over and pat him on the back. And the spectators knew too. Everyone knew who he was. It was just really emotional how they approached Christian and told him about how they felt about his story.”