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L.A. Marathon: Musicians provide soundtrack for runners, spectators

March 17, 2013 |  9:50 am


Wake up this morning at an ungodly hour (for a Sunday) to the sounds of bongos, a rock band, or the song "Gangam Style," blared on repeat? You're not alone.

As thousands of marathon runners make their way through the streets of Los Angeles, they're met with bands, music, and acts at every turn.

PHOTOS: The 2013 Los Angeles Marathon

They include an impressive array of drums at the top of the hill on First Street, and the Mary Lind Recovery Center Choir, which staked out a spot just before Mile 9 to play soul-thumping rock tunes and give high-fives to the crowds passing by.

The choir, made up of recovering addicts, has turned out to support L.A. runners and wheelchair drivers for 12 years, said choir director Trish Turner, who was wearing St. Patrick's Day clover earrings. This year, 25 people turned out, equipped with electric guitars, drums and keyboards.

They're singing songs such "Proud Mary," changing the lyrics from "rolling on the river" to "running down the boulevard" and "Johnny B. Good," during which they sing, "Go, go, go runners go."


They showed up at 6:30 a.m. and will be there "till the last runners go by," Turner said.

Gary King, 49, of South Los Angeles, has shown up at the marathon with the choir for 10 years. He was lounging in a green camping chair as his fellow choir members made a line to cheer on runners. He didn't mind getting up so early on a Sunday, he said.

"We do it for them," he said, pointing to the crowds of sweaty people running by in yellow and green.


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-- Alana Semuels

Photo: An enthusiastic group at Mile 9 goes "Gangnam Style." Credit: Alana Semuels / Los Angeles Times