Nearly 24,000 runners traveled the 26.2-mile course of the Los Angeles Marathon this weekend and near the front of the pack were Santa Monicans Samuel Bradbury and Ingrid Walters.
Bradbury, 37, finished the race in 2 hours 29 minutes and 56 seconds taking third in the amateur bracket. At a pace of about a 5.8-second mile, his time would have placed him in the top ten for the Professional division. Walters, 46, clocked in at 2 hours 55 minutes and 28 seconds, taking first place in her division and fast enough to rank 14th if she’d been part of the Professional group.
Bradbury said his training regime is as much mental as it is physical.
“Honestly, I simply do the same thing as the hundreds of others early every morning … running on the Santa Monica beach path and beyond,” he said. “Of course when I have a race on the books I dial the time and distance up. But I’ve found that when you just commit to having fitness as a part of your everyday life without letting it interfere with other work/life priorities … momentum only builds in every area especially with support from friends and family. Your mindset plays a much bigger role than most people expect. And the beautiful surrounding here in Santa Monica certainly helps as well.”
Bradbury began running as an adult post-college. He has completed more than 20 marathons and began running the Los Angeles race in 2013 after moving to Santa Monica in 2012 to work in marketing for Red Bull. He was sidelined by an ankle injury for a couple of years but returned to competition in 2016 with a time of 2 hours 44 minutes 24 seconds.
He said he began distance running on a dare from a friend.
“I accepted the challenge and made my own course on the Maine seacoast,” he said. “Shortly after we both signed up for the Berlin marathon in 2008 (2:55 was my first official finish) and ever since I’ve been doing 2-3 a year with an epic group of inspiring friends.”
Santa Monica’s fastest woman, Ingrid Walters, began distance running after years of competitive swimming. She said training for the Los Angeles Marathon is important because the course can be more troublesome than many people first think.
“I’ve done this route about five times,” she said. “I never knew how to run it, it’s very hard, it’s very deceptive. They say you’re running down to the beach but they don’t mention the hills that are in-between. The first eight miles are up hill and there’s a strategy to it and if you don’t know that, if you don’t train for those hills, you get to mile 20 and you are dead and that’s always where I bombed.”
She said training can be hard work but it’s not a burden.
“I never got injured, she said. “I was eating healthy and living my life and running is for me. It wasn’t ‘oh gosh, I have to get up and run.’”
Walters said finishing the race in her hometown is a special feeling.
“I always start tearing up,” she said of entering the homestretch. “My team comes out and they run the last part with me and it means so much because this is where I live, this is where I’m from and you know everyone that is cheering for you.”