L.A. Marathon: Cheerleaders enjoy, help create the spectacle
Despite getting only a few hours of sleep, two women were among loudest cheerleaders as marathon runners made their way through Echo Park early Sunday.
"Who rocks the house? L.A. rocks the house!" the pair chanted with the aid of a tambourine and green pompom.
Ogechi Chieko of Los Angeles, in pink shorts and purple hair, jumped up and pumped her hands alongside Tiffany Porrata of Echo Park.
"I come out every year. I grew up in Echo Park," Porrata said. "Our street used to be blocked every year, we couldn't go anywhere but it was so much fun."
A flurry of young runners –- some wearing Students Run LA bright yellow T-shirts or holding American flags -- waved at Chieko and Porrata at the intersection of Park Avenue and Sunset Boulevard.
Next year Porrata said she plans to run the marathon for the first time.
"You gonna root me on, girl?" She asked Chieko.
"You're crazy," Porrata replied, laughing.
Marina Wingenbach, 46, of Monrovia was also cheering on the marathoners. She remembers how challenging her first L.A. Marathon was. So when she heard her nephew was running it this year she made sure to come out.
"Having someone there for you in the crowd can make all the difference," said Wingenbach, who has run three marathons.
As she waited for her nephew, Christopher Castaneda, she encouraged other runners by holding up a sign with green shamrocks that said, "Good luck and God speed."
The L.A. Marathon is a reflection of the city's diversity, said Michael Gray, 55, of Los Angeles.
The real estate agent had come to support two coworkers, who ran up to him when they saw him and gave him a hug.
"You have so many different cultures come together for one marathon," Gray said. "It's a great show of unity and we do it right."
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-- Adolfo Flores
Photo: Ogechi Chieko, with purple hair, and Tiffany Porrata cheer on marathon runners in Echo Park. Credit: Adolfo Flores / Los Angeles Times