April 6, 2013 § Leave a comment
We awoke this morning to the sounds of the Hollywood Half-Marathon making its way through our neighborhood.
Participants came in all shapes and sizes, ages, ethnicities. Also costumes: Superman, Wonder Woman, tutus, butterfly wings, a man in a filmy white dress and blonde wig. Mostly though, they wore spandex, lots and lots of brightly colored spandex. Enough to stretch all the way from Hollywood & Highland, where the race began, to Sunset & Alvarado, the turn-around, and back again: 13.1 miles.
“Thanks for letting us run through your neighborhood!” a man shouted as he legged it past me. Which was nice of him since it was a bit of a nuisance, hemmed in as we were by parking restrictions until 1 p.m.
Back in the ‘70s when the marathon craze was really taking off, I stood on the berm of a country road in Central Pennsylvania giving out split times–time elapsed since the last marker–for the first marathon of the region. It an all volunteer affair and long before barefoot-running, CamelBaks, energy shots–or spandex. By the end of the race I saw men bleeding from their nipples from the chaffing of cotton/polyester t-shirts.
I don’t remember any women running. That’s how it was back then.
I was jogging regularly at the time, though never as fleet of foot as my father who ran cross-country in high school. After watching the half-marathoners, I dug out his medal from the Marquette University Relay Carnival, c. 1927. On the front, Winged Victory appears in low-relief. Inscribed on the back: 1st prize, 4 mile relay, National Champ.
While my dad might talk about running, he never gloried in having been on a national championship relay team. It wasn’t his way. He never gave up his love of bi-pedal mobility, however, which he lauded by slapping his thigh and repeating the old adage, “Shank’s mare will get you there.”
Evidently all the way from Hollywood to Silverlake and back again.