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11th Marathon Is Earlier, Cooler

February 02, 1992|SUSAN PATERNO

The most running David Purucker had ever done before his brother suggested a marathon 10 years ago was a quick jog around the block. "But I thought, 'A marathon? That sounds like fun,' " the 58-year-old junior high teacher said. The prospect of running a 26-mile course failed to daunt him. "My reaction was, 'What, me worry?' "

Since then, David and his brother, Ken Purucker, 54, a dentist, have participated in all 10 Long Beach Marathons. Even David's triple bypass heart surgery two months before the 1988 marathon failed to sideline him. "I only had six weeks and four days to train," David said. In the race, "I ran the first mile and it felt good. So I walked and jogged the rest of it." It took him just over 6 hours, about 2 1/2 hours longer than his best time.

On Sunday, Feb. 9, the Puruckers will join more than 4,000 other runners for the 1992 Long Beach Marathon, moved up from its traditional May date to February to take advantage of the cooler weather, according to race officials.

The Puruckers had never run competitively before the first Long Beach Marathon, Ken said, although he had been running to keep in shape since the mid-1960s. "Our father had died of heart disease at a young age, so I started running for my health," Ken said. "It was a necessary evil. Then I heard about the Long Beach Marathon and I thought this might be an exciting way to get motivated."

Ken and David, who live 10 blocks from one another in Long Beach, got together for a Thanksgiving family gathering and before the night was over, they had agreed upon a training schedule. "We did it cold turkey--totally wrong. You're supposed to work up to it, but we just ran," David said. "By Christmas, we were barely able to hobble. My feet didn't work and my brother's hip was out of order."

Even so, they completed the first marathon in just over four hours. David's best time is 3:32; Ken's is 3:17. "He's my younger brother," David said. "I keep telling people that's why he's faster than me." (Rex Wilson of New Zealand holds the record with 2:12:27.)

Some of the brothers' children run competitively, and those who don't "always come out to cheer us on," Ken said. "We really couldn't do it without our wives and families. They always encourage us to keep on going."

The marathon will begin at 6:30 a.m. Feb. 9 with race walkers. Wheelchair athletes begin at 6:55 a.m., runners at 7 a.m. and mini-marathoners (a 2.62-kilometer race for elementary school children) at 7:25 a.m.

To register on race day, arrive between 5 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. The starting line is on the west side of Ocean Boulevard at Long Beach Boulevard. Women start on the north side of Ocean Boulevard; men start on the south side of the street. Registration is limited to the first 4,500 entrants.

The route follows most of the shoreline, starting west over the Los Angeles River, past the Queen Mary and looping around the Spruce Goose, back through Shoreline Aquatic Park, east along Bluff Park, out the Alamitos Bay Peninsula and over the Naples canals. The route also goes through Belmont Shore and Naples business districts and encircles Recreation Park Golf Course before traveling west back along Ocean Boulevard to finish near where it started.

Spectators: There is ample parking on city streets near the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center north of Ocean Boulevard. The first six miles, along with the start and finish, can be viewed within walking distance of the convention center. Limited parking is available at the Los Angeles County lot on Magnolia Avenue for $3 a car. Avoid private lots; you may be charged and/or have your car towed away. Arrive early to avoid street closures, which begin at 6:15 a.m. Since Ocean Boulevard will be closed to vehicular traffic, motorists heading to the east end of the route should use Broadway to Bay Shore Avenue, then park and walk.

Other marathon events: The Running and Fitness Expo at the Long Beach Hilton will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday featuring new products for runners. No admission fee.

For more information, call (310) 494-2664.

1991 Marathon Winners

Place Finisher Home Time MEN 1 Salvador Garcia Mexico 2:16:08 2 Isamu Sennai Japan 2:16:18 3 Tomohiro Imamura Japan 2:16:19 WOMEN 1 Maria Trujillo La Jolla * 2:35:50 2 Gordon Bloch New York 2:38:04 3 Kimball Dryden Seattle 2:38:45 WHEELCHAIR--MEN 1 Jim Knaub Long Beach * 1:38:47 2 Robert Molinati Huntington Beach 1:45:02 3 Marty Vogel Tujunga 1:45:03 WHEELCHAIR--WOMEN 1 Candace Cable Truckee * 1:57:44 2 Deanna Sodoma Leucadia 1:58:16 3 Mary Thompson San Diego 2:45:49 RACE WALK--MEN 1 Richard Ashton San Diego 4:33:59 2 Bill Neder Los Angeles 4:38:59 3 Clyde Hatfield Dulzura, Calif. 4:43:21 RACE WALK--WOMEN 1 Jill Latham Panorama City 4:44:01 2 Ellyn McIntosh Long Beach 4:51:52 3 Lori Deane Temple, Tex. 4:53:45 * Course Record

Source: Long Beach Marathon

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