There is no official LA Legacy Marathon Runners club, but if there was one, a prominent member would be Jim Davis.
The Sylmar resident, who turned 81 last August, ran in the 37th annual Los Angeles Marathon held on Sunday, March 20. Davis is one of the handful of those who have appeared in and completed every LA Marathon since the event began in 1986.
Davis completed the 26.2 mile course in 6:56, meeting his own goal of finishing under seven hours and earning another medal.
“I walk more than I run now,” he said the day after. “I jogged the first couple of miles, then I walked, although I would jog to the mile markers. I also took a few small breaks. But it’s still a joy to do this.”
Davis doesn’t just walk for marathons. He walks six days a week, doing six miles on Monday, three miles Tuesday through Thursday, 10 miles on Friday, and four miles on Saturday. He used to walk every day, but now rests on Sunday.
It helps him keep him fit enough to do the marathon, although the circumstances this year were a bit different. Although the race is usually run in March, the 2021 race was pushed to November because of the pandemic, leaving less time to prepare for the 2022 event.
But Davis was determined to continue being a Legacy Runner.
“There were, I think, about 116 of us out there [on March 20] but I don’t know how many finished this time,” Davis said.
He had his own struggles. Davis, like the other marathoners, was occasionally pressed by the windy conditions that made it hard at times to maintain the 13-minutes a mile pace he likes. He pushed himself a little harder than he anticipated early in the race, and found himself running low on energy.
“That was also because I don’t always eat enough,” Davis said.
He added that the layout of the course this time “felt weird” to him.
“Very flat,” Davis said. “When you can still see people running from two miles away, it is challenging [to figure out] how far and fast to go before you get to another place to make a turn. The last five miles was really like that. At the turnaround on Santa Monica Boulevard, you are still going out and seeing people coming in on the other side of the street.”
Still, Davis never thought about ending his race prematurely. There will come a time when he will be unable to complete a marathon, but it wasn’t going to be this marathon.
“Being a Legacy Runner is a big thing,” he said, noting they are all given special jerseys each year acknowledging their status. “People come up to you on the course during the race and congratulate you for being one. They inspire me.”
At the end of the race, Davis said he was “inspired” to do one more thing when he got home.
“I sent out messages to friends that I did it, then fell asleep. I didn’t wake up until 11 p.m [that night].”