OCEAN AVE — Although his fastest days are behind him, Brad Knoernschild is one runner who wills himself to the finish line every year.
Knoernschild, 55, is one of 185 Legacy Runners who have run and completed every Los Angeles Marathon since its inception 28 years ago.
“I think it’s keeping the streak alive,” Knoernschild said on Sunday after completing the race. “We support each other, it’s like a fraternity.”
Along with Knoernschild, roughly 24,000 runners from 61 countries and all 50 states gathered for the annual L.A. Marathon on Sunday.
“Every person that runs has their own story,” said former mayor of Santa Monica, Assemblyman Richard Bloom, who has been to every marathon since it came to Santa Monica four years ago.
“I think it’s wonderful,” added Santa Monica Chief of Police Jacqueline Seabrooks. “The myriad entities, the comprehensive response.”
Gia Alvarez, a running coach who completed her seventh marathon, responded to her own self doubt.
After three years, Alvarez finally put her inner demons to rest by completing a new personal best and successfully qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
“It’s amazing, I loved it,” she said.
The marathon is not so much a race as it is a happening.
“It’s like a cultural experience,” said Samuel Bennett, who completed his first ever marathon. “It was difficult for everyone. Everyone who finished had to push themselves.”
As he was wincing and rubbing his tired legs, Bennett said that he had tried a couple of half marathons and thought it would be fun to race in the big event. But, after going through the rigors of completing all 26.2 miles he admitted that maybe it would seem like a fun idea after the soreness went away.
Andrew Gonzalez experienced some leg pains of his own.
“A year ago, I broke my leg,” Gonzalez said.
Complete with a seven inch plate, and nine screws in his left leg doctors told him to take it easy. Not wanting to be hampered by the past, Gonzalez had something to prove to himself on Sunday.
“It’s something I’ve always aspired to do, I did it,” he said.
While a marathon is a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment for many in attendance, for Joao Miranda it’s simply a part of his day-to-day training. Miranda who ran two half marathons last week and went to the gym the evening before the race, exercises six times a week.
“I like the challenge, the mental and physical,” he said.
Masahiko Koshu, 23, who completed his 11th marathon on Sunday, enjoys having something to look forward to.
Koshu, a swimmer in high school, started training for marathons after the encouragement of his mother.
“Every year, I’m nervous, I need to go to bed by 9 p.m. because I always lay in bed for hours,” he joked.
Koshu finished in 4 hours and 25 minutes mirroring the same time as his mother, back when she ran marathons.
“I thought I would do better,” he admitted.
Sam Goldberg also ran to impress his parents. With his dad visiting from Texas, Goldberg wanted to show his pops how he lives these days. Goldberg attracted a crowd with every step he took wearing only a tu-tu, full body paint, a neon green wig and a box of Lucky Charms cereal.
“If I don’t know what to wear, I just throw on a tu-tu and have way more fun,” he said.