Runners Finish Hot L.A. Marathon

Jennifer Rodman, Staff Writer

Thousands of runners gathered behind the tape, preparing to run the 26.2 miles of the LA Marathon waiting to hear: “On your mark, get set, go.”

Huge crowds of people lined the streets, screaming and cheering for their friends and family members. The 88-degree temperature was one of the hottest days in LA Marathon history.

The first to pass the finish line was Ethiopian runner Amane Gobena, 31, who came in at 2:27:41.

The race began at the Dodger Stadium at 7 a.m. on March 8, and ended at the Santa Monica pier.

This was Matthew Herrera’s second running the LA Marathon. Last year he was excited to run, but he still felt nervous at the gate this year, since he is recovering from a knee injury sustained in last year’s marathon and still feels some pain. Last year he trained for about two months and this year not at all.

“It’s really more of a mental challenge rather than a physical challenge,” said Herrera. ”You have to be patient.”

Herrera said just having 26.2 miles in one’s head is a lot to deal with. Last year he finished in about five and a half hours.

“I was doing so well and my knees just gave out and I was limping and jogging the rest of the way,” said Herrera. “I don’t do it for any cause or charity,” he added. “I just run to run and to let out any problems I’ve had in life.”

Herrera said eating healthy is one of the hardest things for him.

“I’m not going to lie — I’m a total fat ass and I don’t eat any vegetables,” said Herrera. “I’ve been eating a lot of meats lately and I try to cut back on cookies.”

Herrera said his plan for this run was to relax and run his own race.

“I was proud at how I did this year, he said. “I did the race within four hours.”

The first man across the finish line this year was Gebo Burka, who finished in a little more than two hours.

As Amanda Lopez prepared for the race, she said that this is a kind of redemption run for her. It’s her second time running the marathon as well. Lopez said that last year she got injured early and it was terrible for her at that time. Her mother, who has ran the race eight times now, inspired her and got her started on running.

“My goal for this marathon was to finish in less than five hours,” said Lopez.

Unfortunately, after the race, Lopez said she went a little over her goal, but still had a great experience this year.

Even though these two runners were both injured last year, they pulled through with a lot of strength and energy. They both plan to return in next year’s race.