SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) — When LA Marathon winners Daniel Limo and Olga Kimaiyo crossed the finish line Sunday morning it was about 76 degrees, but thousands of slower runners dealt with temperatures closer to 90 by the time they reached Santa Monica.
According to a news release from event officials, 185 participants needed medical attention, with 36 transported to area hospitals. A 61-year-old man experienced cardiac arrest on San Vicente Boulevard near Montana Avenue, but medical personnel were able to render immediate aid and regained a pulse. That man was taken to a hospital in critical condition, but has since regained consciousness.
For the rest of the participants, the heat was more of a nuisance.
“It was brutal,” Ruben Quezada of Pasadena told CBS2’s Joy Benedict while getting some ice after finishing the race. “I’m overheating. I know I’ll pass out right here if i don’t take care of myself with this ice.”
The marathon started 30 minutes early, at sunrise at Dodger Stadium. It was excitement in florescent sneakers and a sea of visors, hats and sunglasses, hoping to keep Mother Nature away.
By Mile 12 the crowd thinned, the pavement heated up and the palm trees on Sunset Boulevard offered little shade. But legacy runner Larry King, of Newhall, had already planned a break, and planted his family on the course.
“At 77 years old, I don’t quite have the same drive that I used to have,” said King, who has been at the marathon every once of the last 30 years. “It’s just hard when you get out here and try to to keep running. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, and you have to stop and walk a little bit.”
This year, with temperatures above 90 degrees, many chose to take it slow, slowing down for oranges, or a quick shower thanks to firefighters, and ever ice.
One of the best way to beat the heat is to stay hydrated, and that’s why the LA Marathon had hydration stations, with water and Gatorade, every mile on the 26.2-mile route.
Still, a number of runners had to drop out of the race.
“I saw a lot of people cramping up, they kept going off to the side,” said runner Anna Chairez of Hollywood. “Their foot was all stiff.”
But more than 20,000 runners made it Santa Monica, and are now wearing medals. The seasoned will tell you that running a marathon won’t always be pretty, the satisfaction is in finishing.
“I trained for no excuses,” Quezada said. “And we finished.”