LGBT

APLA Runners in New LA Marathon

By Karen Ocamb

March 21, 2010

The LA Marathon - which for the first time ventured outside LA City limits -- featured 25,000 runners -- including about 200 supporters of AIDS Project Los Angeles. KTLA 5 covered the 26 mile, 385-yard course from Dodger Stadium to the Santa Monica Pier Sunday morning. Part of the course ran on Sunset Boulevard near my apartment so I ran up to snap a few photos.

The race started with the "elite" women runners leaving the stadium just after 7:00 a.m., followed by the "elite men" and the rest of the crowd at 7:51 a.m. The course featured a landmark every mile -- from Dodger Stadium to El Pueblo de Los Angeles, the city's birthplace, past Los Angeles City Hall and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels downtown west through Echo Park and Silver Lake into Hollywood along Hollywood Boulevard and the Walk of Fame, past the Kodak Theatre -- the new home of the Academy Awards -- and Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

The runners then turned south onto Sunset Boulevard and into West Hollywood. West Hollywood City Councilmember John Heilman passed my spot across from the famous Laugh Factory at the half way mark on the course at about 10:25am.

The runners then passed Chateau Marmont, the House of Blues and the famous Rock and Roll Sunset Strip's Whiskey A Go Go before veering south on San Vicente to Santa Monica Boulevard and our very own Boy's Town where AIDS Project Los Angeles had one of their cheering sections.

After passing the famous Troubadour where Elton John got his start, the runners headed into Beverly Hills -- past the Beverly Hills City Hall ("Beverly Hills Cop") and the wealthy shopping mecca of Rodeo Drive. They then headed past Century City, the hallowed grounds of the Veterans Administration into Brentwood and on into Santa Monica until they reached Ocean Avenue near the Santa Monica Pier.

I ventured up the street to my spot on Sunset opposite The Laugh Factory shortly after the "elite" runners had passed. I was struck not just with the emptiness of Sunset Blvd for miles -- but the loneliness of the long distance runners as they ran by measuring their own time. I was also incredibly moved by the strength and courage of the wheelchair athletes, as well. And I also noted that among my neighbors out to support the runners were a group of mentally disabled hand bell ringers who seemed to be having a wonderful time. Interspersed with my shots of the runners -- focusing primarily of those from APLA -- are a couple of shots off the TV of the "elite" women runners who really had a race for a spell – and then the winners. Frankly, anyone who completed – or even tried that trek seems like a winner to me.

Interestingly, someone was blasting Christian rock that included antigay lyrics -- this being West Hollywood and all. However, the lyrics were obscured by the driving beat which helped motivate the runners. Meanwhile, The Laugh Factory anticipated the win of Kenyans Edna Kiplagat -- who was the fastest woman and Wesley Korir who was the fastest man in the 25 annual LA Marathon for the second consecutive year. The famed comedy club also anticipated passage of the healthcare reform bill by the US House of Representatives.

Here are a few of the some shots of APLA runners and others from this morning's LA Marathon run. Aside from the map and the high wide shot by KTLA of the start of the race, all photos are mine and are free-use.

To view the pictures go to http://www.lgbtpov.com/2010/03/apla-runners-in-new-la-marathon/.