Team Parkinson at the 2012 LA Marathon - 03/30/2012

I knew I wouldn’t be running the LA Marathon this year, but I still needed a goal to motivate me, so I decided to run the 5K. To get ready, I trained with Sarah’s 5k Training Team at the Rose Bowl. The training team is a joint effort between Team Parkinson and the Department of Neurology at USC’s Keck Medical Center.  Sarah Ingersoll created the team, and Steve Mackel provides coaching and motivation. It’s a great opportunity to train focused on a goal and all are welcome. (see photos below)

My efforts to get ready for the 5k paled in comparison to the huge coordinated effort that Edna put in getting ready for the total event.  There’s the two day expo to prepare for, and the carbo-load dinner, and printing the team t-shirts, and setting up the new two-person charity marathon relay, which ended up taking an enormous amount of coordination among team members.  But somehow she pulled it all together, and with the help of Carol Walton, CEO of The Parkinson Alliance, my sister Kippi Stolz, and our premier sponsor and proud partner, Abbot Pharmaceuticals, we did make it through the weekend’s events. The weather at Friday’s Expo in the Dodger stadium parking lot was threatening, but held off. Saturday morning’s 5K didn’t have the same luck. It was cold and wet. But like most runners, I ran anyway, and it was great, in spite of the weather. 

I finished 4th in my age group (men 65-69). There are normally 5000 in the race, but the day was so cold and so wet that many stayed home...In fact, Edna (bless her heart) told our Team Parkinson members she'd give everyone a medal who had the good sense to stay home. In spite of her wisdom, we had nearly 150 soggy team members--many with Parkinson's--in the 5K. Our biggest fundraiser and captain of our largest team was Lisette Ackerberg. She was celebrating her 75th birthday, and she did it in style by walking the 5K with her team of 86! Together they raised over $42,000.

Fundraising for the weekend overall was truly fabulous and the entire team effort completely shattered our goal of $150,000. To date, Team Parkinson at the LA Marathon 2012 has raised over $173,000 and we won't close the books on the event until May 28. I think we can reach over $175K.

After the second day of the expo, with the rain pouring down all morning and the wind blowing all afternoon, we closed up shop with the help of Doug and Mimi MacGlashan and headed over to Taix French restaurant for our Carbo-Load dinner. The evening was a complete success due to the terrific support from the Wong family.  We must also thank our sponsor for the dinner, Norm Reeves Honda Superstore, and the Dave Connant Family Foundation.  Lee and Rose Stacey were there to represent them. It is wonderful to have such steady supporters in our community.  Our speakers for the evening included Edna Ball, Carol Walton, Michael Schaffer (representing Abbot), Julia Schmutz, Dr. Jeffery Wertheimer, Ken Aidekman with a poetic tribute to Mary Yost, founder of Team Parkinson, and me. I think everyone enjoyed the evening as we congratulated our 5k finishers and wished the marathoners and relay participants good luck and better weather for their efforts in the morning.

Fortunately the weather cleared for those who ran the full marathon or the two person relay on Sunday. We had 50+ participants in the race. My training partners, Mark and Doug, finished the marathon without me for the first time in more than a decade. All of our team members finished the race. Congratulations to everyone.  Kudos go to Willard Krick who was our sole marathon finisher with Parkinson's. Willard is 74 and has finished every LA Marathon since its inception.  If I ever need inspiration, I just have to think of Willard.

I do have my next goal in mind; with a little help from my friends, I plan to run the half-marathon in the next Team Parkinson event, the San Francisco marathon in July.

View Photos from the LA Marathon 2012


John

Photos from the last training session at the Rose Bowl before the 5K.  

 Steve, Sarah, and Me.

 Bill Bogaard, Mayor of Pasadena, and his assistant with Sarah