For the past few years, I’ve gone out to watch the runners for the LA Marathon. I have always enjoyed watching the runners and cheering them on, even if I didn’t know anyone running. This year, several of my friends were supposed to be running but had to back out for one reason or another. I knew I had 1 friend running and I wanted to be out there to support him. Plus, it always seems like I find out I had more friends running once I’m out there.
I’m usually at the same spot each year because it’s pretty close to my house and it’s easy to drive to. With all the street closures for the marathon, I like to minimize the issues I run into by driving to the marathon path. Plus, since it’s close I can get there early and not worry about how long it would take me to get back home.
This year, I was going to watch the marathon runners with a friend who wanted to go watch it from near the finish line. I had never done that before and figured it could be a fun adventure! Plus, we were both having a lazy morning and if I had gone to my usual place I would have missed my friend running by. So we made a plan to meet at the light rail station to head into Santa Monica. The end of the light rail was only a few blocks from the finish line, so we figured that would be the easiest way to get there.
And while it did end up being the easiest way to get there, it wasn’t that easy once we were in Santa Monica. The crowds were pretty crazy, especially compared to what I’m used to at the location I normally watch from. And there was a sea of people past the finish line lined up while the finishers walked through after collecting their medals.
I had been using the race tracker app to track my friend and he crossed the finish line pretty soon after we got to where we were watching. But then we realized that there was no requirement for him to walk all the way to where we were watching. I had no clue where he was meeting his family and we gave it about 20 minutes before we figured he must have left the race area before he got to where we were (I found out later that he left the race area 2 blocks before where we were).
We did enjoy watching the other finishers go by us and we both were amazed by how many of them seemed so casual for just finishing a marathon! There were some people who looked tired but so many others weren’t sweaty and I would have guessed they were waiting to start a marathon and not just done with one. I know I look so much more exhausted after doing a 5K than most of those marathon runners looked!
After watching for about 30 minutes, we realized that it was just getting a bit too crowded for us and we weren’t going to see anyone we knew. As much as we wanted to keep cheering people on we knew it was time to go. We walked back toward the train station but decided that we wanted to do a bit more walking around. It was a really nice day out and I’m not in Santa Monica that often. We walked back and forth on the promenade and then went to the mall at the end of the promenade to get some lunch.
We had a nice relaxing lunch outside (it was way less crowded than it normally is in Santa Monica on a weekend and we were enjoying not feeing super packed in) before heading back to the train to go back home. There were so many marathon runners on the train with their medals and that was so cool to see. Hopefully none of them were too tired to get up from their seats when they got to their stop!
Even though this wasn’t what I was expecting with watching the marathon, it was a fun adventure. But I think I’ve decided that next year I’ll be back to watching from where I normally watch. Plus, my friend who watched with me was talking about maybe running the marathon next year and I want to make sure I’m in a spot where she can find me and I can have some awesome signs to cheer her on!