Jim Davis

Jim Davis has added his 38th Los Angeles Marathon medal to his collection, but some health issues held him back from performing as well as he hoped.

“I enjoyed finishing [the Marathon], but it seemed it was more of an effort this year than it has been [previously], but I was still strong,” Davis said.

The 82-year-old Sylmar resident is an LA Marathon legacy runner — which means he has participated in every race since it began in 1986. He was joined by another 106 legacy runners this past Sunday. Although he’s had both knees replaced and is no longer able to run, Davis hasn’t been deterred in the slightest from joining the race.

He went into the Marathon with the goal of finishing in under seven hours, just as he did last year with a time of 6:56. His time this year, however, was 7:26 — a half hour slower. The issue that mainly affected Davis’ time this year wasn’t his stamina or pace, but his balance.

Jim Davis, 82, being helped by two LA Marathon runners from falling. (Photo Courtesy of Jim Davis)

While walking in the Marathon, there were times Davis would start to lose his balance and he would try to grab onto something to steady himself, such as a metal pole. The problem, he said, is that his body still wants to keep moving forward, resulting in him either running in circles or into the object he was holding onto and falling.

It’s a problem he’s encountered during the race for several years now.

“The thing is, I cannot stop,” Davis said. “If I try to stop and grab something that’s solid … my body won’t stop. My body wants to keep moving. … I think I fell twice [during the Marathon].

Fortunately, there were people he met along the way that would walk with him so he could grab onto them to steady himself whenever he started losing his balance. He hopes he can see a doctor and have the issue resolved before next year’s event.

“I’m still walking on my own strength, but I’m glad it’s over.”

Still, Davis isn’t too down on his performance. He ranked around 10,000 for men and 16,000 overall. He also ranked 177 for participants ages 80 and over.

“I always try to have a good time,” he said. “One of the great things about [being a legacy runner] is we have a badge on our back. Mine says ‘Legacy Jim.’ People are coming up to me going ‘Go Legacy Jim’ or ‘Congratulations Legacy Jim.’”

He also showed appreciation for the support he’s received from his company, church and friends. Additionally, he recounted how he’s been recognized during the Marathon from previous articles written about him in the San Fernando Valley Sun/el Sol; some even ask to take a photo with him.

Davis is currently resting this week before he resumes his long walks again. He may be slightly disheartened with his slower time, but Davis is determined to come back stronger for the 39th Marathon.

“I’m going to do better next year. I’m going to. My goal is to find out what’s wrong with this body.”