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Spectators Make the Marathon

March 11, 2004

Ten years ago, I competed in my fifth marathon, the heralded Boston Marathon. I ran horribly, and the experience was a nightmare. I did not attempt 26.2 miles again until Sunday's running of the 19th Los Angeles Marathon. As I write, 24 hours later, my legs ache, my toes are blistered and my pride (for not finishing in my goal time) is bruised. However, I will carry fond memories of this race for a very long time. The thousands of spectators along the entire route paid tribute to the professional runners, the serious competitors and the weekend joggers with equal exuberance.

Over the years, I have run races in several cities: San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Portland, Pittsburgh, Chicago and London. None had supporters that compared with Los Angeles'. My appreciation goes out to those Angelenos who helped us finish a hot, grueling race. The aid station volunteers, too, were amazing. They selflessly gave of their time and energy so that we could all experience the great marathon of Los Angeles. No other marathon will ever come close to the excellence of L.A.'s.

Elizabeth Osborne

Pismo Beach

*

Wow! That's my reaction to Tatyana Pozdnyakova's 2:30:17 win in Sunday's Los Angeles Marathon. Having attended all Summer Olympic Games since 1984, with emphasis on track and field, I can say that what Pozdnyakova did, one year shy of 50 years of age, is simply a stunning achievement. We all remember Joan Benoit's Olympic win in 1984 with a time of 2:24:52, but understand she was about half Pozdnyakova's age.

Daniel Perez

Norwalk

*

Re top women runners being given a 20 1/2-minute head start: This was not a marathon; it was a game of catch-up.

Dennis Pierce

Los Angeles

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