L.A. Marathon: Spectators inspired by runners
Late for class and with no runners in sight, Malika Gary told the woman standing next to her that she had to go.
It was going to be the second day in a row Gary was late to class at Mount St. Mary's College.
"You have to stay for the men! You have to!" pleaded Maria Jimenez, who had been standing at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue for the better part of an hour. "Do you see the trucks? They're coming!"
About 100 yards away, the camera trucks and escort vehicles emerged on Hollywood Boulevard, the pack of the lead men's runners behind them.
"Its so cool!" Jimenez told Gary. "You're going to see the top runners."
"Well, I'm already late for class, I might as well stay to see it," Gary said with a laugh.
For Gary, the marathon was just a quick coffee break on her way to the Metro Red Line. She'd never seen it before even though her daughter had participated three times, riding on the back of her grandfather's bicycle starting when she was 2.
But for Jimenez, alone on the sidewalk in a winter coat, her hair pulled back and purse slung across her shoulders, the marathon is like an annual injection of inspiration.
"The one day something magical happens," she said. "It's seeing people do something that seems impossible."
Jimenez has been watching L.A.'s marathon for the last six years. She doesn't run or know anyone in the race, but said it tells her she "can do it."
"Its like a holiday for me," she said.
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-- Joseph Serna
Photo: Lead men's runners on Hollywood Boulevard. Credit: Joseph Serna / Los Angeles Times