Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

March 9, 1986: Runners from 48 states and 28 nations make their way from the starting line in the first Los Angeles Marathon. This photo was published in the March 10, 1986, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Con Keyes / Los Angeles Times

Route of the first Los Angeles Marathon. This image was published in the March 2, 1986, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

March 9, 1986: U.S. Marines at the starting line of the Los Angeles Marathon. This photo was published in the March 10, 1986, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jayne Kamin / Los Angeles Times

March 9, 1986: Start of the Los Angeles Marathon near Figueroa Street and Exposition Boulevard.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jayne Kamin / Los Angeles Times

March 9, 1986: The field of 11,000 moves away from the Los Angeles Marathon starting line on Figueroa Street. This photo was published in the March 10, 1986, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

March 9, 1986: A runner in the Los Angeles Marathon gets a shower at the 20-mile mark. This photo was published in the March 10, 1986, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jayne Kamin / Los Angeles Times

March 1, 1987: Runners rest at the 17-mile mark. This photo was published in the March 2, 1987, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

March 1, 1987: Runners on the Figueroa Street overpass above the Harbor Freeway near the start of the marathon. This photo was published in the March 2, 1987, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times

March 6, 1988: Runner Jorge Yeber is given some help. This photo was published in the March 7, 1988, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ellen Jaskol / Los Angeles Times

March 6, 1988: Spectator Chris Montes gives high-fives on 2nd Street in Little Tokyo. This photo was published in the March 7, 1988, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ellen Jaskol / Los Angeles Times

March 6, 1988: Rosemarie Morales, from left, Mary Valenzuela and Rose Morales have encouraging words for Valenzuela's son at mile 20. This photo was published in the March 7, 1988, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ellen Jaskol / Los Angeles Times

March 8, 1988: Vietnam veteran Bob Wieland finishes the Los Angeles Marathon in 74 hours, eight minutes. Wieland lost both legs to a land mine in Vietnam. He started the 1988 marathon on Saturday, March 5, and finished on Tuesday, March 8.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Thomas Kelsey / Los Angeles Times

Feb. 16, 1989: Ken Marts piles up goodie bags for runners in the upcoming March 5, 1989, Los Angeles Marathon. This photo was published in the Feb. 21, 1989, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jim Mendenhall / Los Angeles Times

March 3, 1991: A woman pays no attention to Los Angeles Marathon runners on 6th Street. This photo was published in the March 4, 1991, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

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Los Angeles Marathon's first years

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After the success of the 1984 Summer Olympic Games, interest in a local marathon led to the first Los Angeles Marathon on March 9, 1986.

Times staff writer Julie Cart reported in the March 10, 1986, Los Angeles Times:

For about 11,000 runners in Sunday’s Los Angeles Marathon, the Southern California promise became a reality – the opportunity to attain celebrity, however fleeting.

This attention was assured and the loneliness of the long distance runner was forgotten. A fleet of 26 cameras was pressed into service by a local television station, a truck filled with photographers roamed the course and reporters from national and international newspapers and magazines jotted notes in exhausting detail.

This was not the first marathon to be run in Los Angeles. It was, however, the first to bear the official approval of the City Council. Whether this particular 26.2-mile race will catch hold and, as its organizers hope, rekindle the city’s Olympic spirit, is speculative. This much can be said, however; Sunday’s race was the largest, glitziest, rowdiest yet.

The L.A. Marathon was a party to which runners and spectators were invited. It was a spectacle that ranged from the gaudy to the crass. No opportunity for advertising or promotion went unused. The Exposition Park area resembled a trade show, with booths offering samples of everything from suntan lotion to breakfast cereal. The U.S. Air Force displayed a scale model jet fighter, the Navy countered with a pint-sized aircraft carrier.

And, as the runners from 48 states and 28 nations jogged under the starting line banner near Figueroa Street and Exposition Boulevard, they reveled in the cheers of the assembled crowd.

And everywhere there was movement; from the last-minute jog in the cool morning air to the platoon of “jazzercize” adherents vigorously gyrating in front of a gas station.

A wall of uniformed Marines was set at the starting line to hold back the wave of runners, all straining to gain an extra inch.

Finally, after nondenominational prayers and a musical interlude from a curb-side chorus, the race began. That is to say, runners at the front of the blocks-long pack dashed off, while runners near the tail end crawled. It was five minutes before the last runners reached even the starting line.

The runners were cheered on by USC students who hung out of windows, perched on ledges and stood on roofs of a university dormitory complex immediately across from the start.

While the crowd applauded and hooted all the runners with equal gusto, they lavished their greatest volume on a pair of runners who jogged along while holding large cardboard letters–“L A”–aloft. The last starter was a woman in pink running shorts who ran the race pushing her infant daughter in a stroller. …

Cart’s full story is online: L.A. Steps Out With a Flourish in Its Marathon.

This gallery consists of images from 1986-91 Los Angeles Marathons.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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1 Comment

  1. March 14, 2015, 3:55 pm

    Amazing photo! I was 10 years onl at the time😀.

    By: divalmeida

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