Jim Davis kept his L.A. Marathon Legacy intact.
The Sylmar resident ran, walked but most importantly completed his 31st marathon on Sunday, Feb. 14. Davis, 75, finished the race in 7:46 minutes on a surgically repaired knee that had severely curtailed his ability to train for the 26.2 mile event that started at Dodger Stadium and ended in Santa Monica.
“I even took 49 minutes off of my last year’s time,” he said proudly.
He is part of a select group known as Legacy Runners, those who have completed every marathon since it began in 1986.
Davis’ race had both high and low moments.
He began jogging and walking at a 15-minute pace the first eight miles, carefully monitoring how his knee would respond. After the eighth mile, Davis realized he needed to slow that pace “to save my legs, because the whole point is to finish.”
He got a wonderful surprise at Mile 12. Davis saw one of his sons, Jason, who had brought out his family to cheer him on. It was the first time Jason had seen his father in the marathon.
“He had sent an email telling me they were coming, we didn’t have a specific meeting spot on the course,” Davis said. “I was so excited. I had to stop for a photo op.”
But also at Mile 12, Davis was beginning to have issues with his balance.
His son caught him and kept him from falling. But as he continued, “I kept having this sensation of my body always moving forward, like I couldn’t stand still or stand straight up.”
The “sensations” got worse as the race progressed. Davis said he took mini-breaks to try and relieve the feelings, and once grabbed at a pole to steady himself. However, he fell at Mile 18. He would fall three more times between Mile 18 and Mile 20.
People would come by to check on him. Davis would tell them he was okay, “that I just could keep still. My mind kept moving me forward.”
After the fall at Mile 20, a pair of runners stopped and helped him up. The man and woman said they would walk with Davis and make sure he finished the race. They either held his hands or put his arms around their shoulders.
But they all finished together.
When asked if he saw a doctor afterward, Davis said no.
“The sensations stopped. And the next day I just had the usual soreness I have from a marathon,” he said.
He also celebrated the way he always celebrates completing a marathon.
“I went home, had a glass of wine, and went to bed,” he said.
But Davis is already making plans to run, walk — and complete — the 2017 L.A. Marathon.
After all, there is a legacy to maintain.