LOS ANGELES — This year’s Los Angeles Marathon, which will end in Santa Monica for the second straight year, will include a pair of unusual world-record attempts.
The record attempts will be for the heaviest person ever to complete a marathon and for the largest cheerleading dance.
The race, scheduled for March 20, will be attempted by 40-year-old Kelly Gneiting of Ft. Defiance, Ariz. The marathon won’t be the first for the 410-pound three-time U.S. Sumo champion. He ran in the 2008 L.A. Marathon, but didn’t notify Guinness World Records officials of his attempt. This time around, he hopes to beat his time of 11:52:11 as he hopes to become the heaviest finisher in history.
During his first successful marathon, Gneiting said that running was a last-second decision by he and a couple of buddies. This time around, he has taken training more seriously, saying that he trains everyday by walking a mile each day to his job as a statistician at the Ft. Defiance Indian Hospital.
“I train at 7,000 feet on broken glass shards and cattle wire, so a few uppity hills into Santa Monica don’t scare me,” he said.
As Gneiting attempts his world record, he won’t be alone.
Marathon organizers are preparing an attempt at the largest cheer dance ever. The current record included 297 cheerleaders, a number organizers hope to eclipse this time around.
“We had nearly 300 cheerleaders from 11 squads at last year’s race,” said the marathon’s director of community relations, Ginger Williams. “We’re already approaching that number with weeks to go. It’s going to be a record-setting day for the runners and for the cheerleaders.”
It will take place on Santa Monica Boulevard on race day. Choreographed by Sharp International, the attempt will take place at Moreno Drive, just west of the Beverly Hills border.