Blog Archives

September 7, 2010

Making Your Miles More Meaningful – Team Parkinson

Last week I asked the question “Why not run for a charity this year?”  Hopefully you decided this is the year that you will, but the Honda LA Marathon has 65 Official Charities that you can support. So with very broad range of charities how do you choose!

I certainly can’t tell you — and shouldn’t tell you — which charity to support.  What I can do is introduce you to them so you’ll have some ideas about what to consider as you make your choice.

I’m proud to introduce to you this week John and Edna Ball National Co-chairs of Team Parkinson.

John was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) in 1983 and began running as a means to fight back against this degenerative neurological disease. Edna’s mother had been diagnosed with the same condition in 1961, when Edna was only 11, so you could that they both have a tremendous stake in trying to help people with the disease, and help find a cure.

Team Parkinson got started by Mary Yost, who saw John running in the LA Marathon in 1999 and she decided that if he could do it, in spite of living with Parkinson’s’ disease, so could she. Mary also suffers from PD.  As she prepared herself for the March 2000 LA Marathon, she decided that it would be a great tool both for raising awareness of the impact of Parkinson’s on society, and also for raising money for research to find a cure. With Mary as their leader and the Parkinson Alliance as their parent organization, they raised $51,000 that first year. Team Parkinson has been an official charity for the last ten years.

Team Parkinson’s concept as simple as possible – no dues or memberships, no fundraising limits, and no costly coaching programs – they have helped many athletes who want their efforts to make a positive difference -both those with Parkinson’s and those interested in the community – achieve their personal goals and find a way to contribute financially to the research for a cure to this devastating disease.  Anyone can represent Team Parkinson at any race or event around the country as part of a team or as an individual.

 Team Parkinson has been very successful over the years at the LA Marathon, raising a total of $1,008,556 in 11 years of participation, and almost $2 million over all. In the words of John Ball,  “Team Parkinson is not just for LA anymore; it’s gone global!  Thanks to the Honda LA Marathon for making our success possible”

To join Team Parkinson…1-866-822-CURE (2873)

September 6, 2010

Tips from Coach Rod – Getting Started

So where do we start? what actually gets us going? Why suddenly do 30% of sedentary people wake up one morning and declare, “I’m changing the way I do things for ME”.  Have we been inspired by someone on the Biggest Loser Show? a friend or family member who has run for charity or in memory of a lost loved one, did we notice we can’t see our feet anymore?

Getting started is the very first effort.

Around 50% of LA Roadrunner membership this year will be ‘very first’ time people, most have very little ‘running’ experience and some may have never ‘walked’ around their local neighborhood.

Of course everyone wants to start jogging right away.


Its interesting how soon we forget, when we were 6-7 months old we learned to crawl, then to walk and then we experienced the thrill of running.  Too many of us have stopped moving, exercising, eating healthy, and living a quality life.  We need to walk before we jog, if you can’t walk for at least 30 minutes don’t try to jog, get back to building your walking stamina first.

 Consult your Doctor

If you are new to exercise (walking-running-jogging) please see your doctor, getting a basic physical exam should help you find out if there is any reason why you shouldn’t do jogging.  If your Doctor feels running or jogging isn’t for you suggest the Run/Walk program or just the walking program.

This is a good start.

Eating Healthy

Do you put soapy water in the car to make it go? no, you put in gasoline because this is the right fuel to make it run.  Our body works much the same.  So lets start making a change in the way you fuel your body.   Once you create a regular exercise program, your will notice you don’t crave the ‘junk foods’ as much, you will want to be healthy on the inside as well as looking good on the outside.

Get good Running Shoes.

If you don’t have good running shoes, expect alot of discomfort from foot pain, leg pain, hip pain, lower back pain and other related injuries.  Always consult a running shoe expert, there are enough running shoe stores out there with years of experience and experts (store owners) who are often runners themselves.  Get that experience and advice, it’s often free with the purchase of the right shoe designed for jogging and running.

Get the proper clothes for running.

Just as you have taken care of the right running shoes, as important, is wearing comfortable clothes designed for running.  And that’s not ‘designer’ clothes, just simple functional clothes that feel comfortable to wear and allow your skin to breath and your sweat to evaporate.

Choose a suitable jogging location.

When starting out run on a flat surface to begin with.  Avoid running up hills as this will tire you quickly and downhill will put more extra stress on your muscles and joints.  Hill running will come later in the training program as you get adapted to a consistent jogging-running program.

Warm up and cool down.

Its always wise to start with some basic warm up exercises to ‘start’ the body up.  When you finish do much the same routine to cool down.

Rest and Recovery

I have always said, “You don’t improve when you are working out.  You improve when you are resting and recovering.”  Always make sure you hydrate after exercise and eat or drink some protein + carbohydrate within 25 minutes of the workout.  Get a good nights sleep too!

At LA Roadrunners we will take you from the “couch to the finish line” in a program that is designed to get everyone safely to the finish line.  Remember ‘Finishing is Winning’.

Be patient, remember a good wine takes time to mature!

Be good to yourself.


September 1, 2010

Rod vs Pre, 1975

I’m getting ready to shoot some more video with Rod Dixon.  While speaking with him on the phone today, he started regaling me with tales of his races against Prefontaine.  So I dug up this clip of Rod going head-to-head with Pre, John Walker and Filbert Bayi at the 1975 LA Times Mile.  This is great entertainment, and not only because of the fu manchu mustaches and flowing long hair.  Why don’t we bring back this sort of race?  With US distance running stronger than it’s been in years, I’ll bet people would come out to watch the top stars duking it out on an indoor track in LA.


September 1, 2010

Ask the Race Director – 42,195 Meters and things that make you go hummm!!

About the only person who has a stride a meter long is Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man.  But he usually only races for 100 meters and at 6’ 5” his stride just walking down the street is longer than you and me.    But, if you run the Honda LA Marathon this March you’re gonna make close to 50,000 steps.  That’s a lot of strides. 

So what can we do to make your strides better?  Here’s some things we’ve done in the past to make race day better, and a request to allof you on how we can make 2011 even better for everyone.

  1. Your bib:   We were the first marathon in the United States to put your name, or nickname on your bib.  Why all other races don’t do it, still confounds me.  We’ve heard from hundreds and hundreds of runners over the past ten years who tell us that having the spectators along the course scream their name in encouragement is worth so much to their race day experience.  So yes, we’ll do it again.  But, don’t forget the deadline to have your name or nickname on your bib is January 1.  And just to make legal happy, we reserve the right to edit any name or nickname.
  2. Timing:  What’s the first US Marathon to use Chip Timing?   The LA Marathon.  Next question on today’s show: what US marathon was the first to use the “B” tag timing system where the timing chip was imbedded in your bib and it was recyclable?  Yes, the 2010 LA Marathon.  So no more  weaving your chip through your shoelaces, and no stopping after the finish to have a volunteer clip off the timing chip.  I’ve seen a few tired runners take a tumble during that process.
  3. Entertainment:  Thanks to a couple of staffers who came up with the idea of placing all our high school cheerleaders in one continuous section (Cheer Alley in Century City) to yell and scream their support for your efforts.  We love ‘em and hope you do to.  And as much as I’ve heard from many of you who are not real enamored of the 1st Street Challenge, we must thank Ginger Williams for placing the Taiko Drummers at the top of the hill across from Disney Hall.  Many people said the energy of the drummers helped them crest that hill. 
  4. And, yes we’ve heard the comments that the Taiko performers remind folks of the tempo drummers in the slave ship segments from the award winning movie Ben Hur.  

  5. Mile marks:  We’ve always had course clocks at every mile, but this year we added big inflatable’s that we could erect at exactly the mile mark. No more looking for trees or street lights to hang mile mark banners that might be hundreds of feet away from the exact mile mark.   We built them really big so everyone could see them many blocks in advance of the mile mark.  We only put up 17 of the mile mark inflatable’s for 2010, but we’ll have them for all the mile marks in 2011.

In closing, we’d love to hear any ideas you have to improve on yours and everyone’s  race day experience.  So send them onto to and we’ll consider them for race day in 2011.    Thanks for listening.

Nick Curl

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