Team Parkinson at the 2014 ASICS LA Marathon - 03/31/2014

A note to our sponsors: 

The ASICS LA Marathon is the premier event on Team Parkinson’s calendar each year and takes several months of planning to get ready. Edna started working on the event last summer, and it’s just winding up now in mid-march. There are several other key players in The Parkinson Alliance who have also worked for months on end to make sure that the event is a success.  None of this work would be possible, of course, without the help and financial support of our premier sponsor-- ABBVIE.  Thank you all for everything you do to make Team Parkinson a success.


Nutribullet® Expo at the LA Convention Center

This year was made more difficult than usual by some additional security requirements the Marathon Committee implemented after the events in Boston last April.  But in spite of those new challenges, Edna was able to provide a solution to every new concern that popped up.  When the weekend finally arrived --we were ready. The booth at the Nutribullet® Expo was set up on Thursday at the LA Convention Center and opened on Friday with John and Edna supported by Carol Walton and Kat Savillo, of the Parkinson Alliance, and by John’s sister, Kippi Stolz, as well.   We were kept busy all afternoon by the long lines of people attending the expo.  We handed out all the official bib numbers and t-shirts to our 5K participants along with their Team Parkinson shirts, and made several new friends among those who didn’t know we existed.


Big 5K at Dodger Stadium

Saturday morning was an early start for most of Team Parkinson since we all had to be at Dodger Stadium by 6:30 AM for the Big 5K.  Team Parkinson was one of the largest Official Charity contingents in the race with nearly 150 participants among the 3300 who started.  The course was the same difficult layout it has been for the last five years.  There are several uphill segments and two long downhill runs.  It’s the kind of course where it’s not unusual to see the entire field walking on some of the steeper hills.

Many of our team members found that their preparation with Sarah’s 5k training team at the Rose Bowl each Thursday morning for the previous three months really paid off.  I could certainly tell the difference in my own performance.  It was the third year in a row I have run the 5K, and my two previous finishes had been for fourth place in my age group.  This year I was in better shape and ran nearly two minutes faster, but found myself two places further back in the standings.  Edna bettered her time by almost 10 minutes. There were many other success stories among the teams within our team. Steve Mackle and Sarah Ingersol deserve a great big ‘Thank You’ from all of us. Everyone who entered the race wearing our Team Parkinson t-shirt finished the event.  



Carbo Dinner

The second day of the expo was another busy day in terms of traffic through the Team Parkinson booth, but with the help of Ken Aidekman and Doug and Mimi MacGlashan we managed to take care of all our team members who stopped by, and get everything cleaned up in time for our Carbo-Load dinner.

The evening’s dinner, hosted by Mark and Susan Saxonberg and sponsored by Norm Reeves Honda, was once again held at Taix’s French restaurant.  We’d like to take a moment to thank them all for their terrific support.  Mark and Susan prepared the settings, the dealership sponsorship made the evening possible, and the restaurant’s quality service, good food, and friendly help made the evening such a success.   They were all terrific.

With a little help from Carol Walton, Edna and me, the program that evening included a wonderful, well-deserved tribute to Mary Yost, founder of Team Parkinson, for her contributions to the Parkinson’s community over more than twenty years of advocacy, delivered by Ken Aidekman.  There probably wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Dr. Indu Subramanian, Mary’s neurologist, eloquently said good-bye to her.  Donna Rosenheck presented a moving tribute to her late-husband, Al, who passed away last year. His participation in Team Parkinson was being honored all weekend. In addition, there was a fabulous scientific presentation from Dr. Clive Svendsen of Cedars-Sinai Hospital on stem cell research. For many in the audience, it was the clearest, most easily understood scientific presentation ever, even with the low-tech, hand-drawn graphics.  All-in-all, it was a glorious evening of community with a heartfelt sense of dedication and inspiration.  

Click here to read John's speech from the carbo dinner.



Sunday morning for the marathoners was not as hot as feared, and the cool cloud cover was well-appreciated.  The race started at 7:30 AM, which meant a 6:00 AM hotel departure in the dark, but the shuttle was easy to find and getting on board was a cinch. After we were delivered to Dodger Stadium there was an hour or more of standing around, but we were treated to a colorful sunrise and soon we were on our way to the beach.  There are too many individual stories to detail here, but suffice it to say that everyone in Team Parkinson either met or exceeded their personal goals.  From the midway point on--where the relay runners (metaphorically) passed the baton-- the sun came out and the running became more difficult. I ran the first half, keeping in sight of Doug, Mimi and Mark, trying not to slow them down too much, and stopped there while they carried on to the finish. Then I caught the shuttle bus to the beach to watch and cheer the remainder of the race. The Team Parkinson cheering station was once again at the 25 mile mark and all our dedicated runners were greeted there with an enthusiastic crowd of well-wishers.  We did our best to make sure no one was left out on the course, including my daughter Sarah and her friend Mary Ann, who came in successfully just ahead of the sweepers.   Looking back after a week of recovery, it was a demanding, draining, but exhilarating weekend.

And one more thing… Team Parkinson fundraisers added another $106,000 to the research kitty.


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