Rick Wallace, Like Clockwork, Completes Annual L.A. Marathon

Rick Wallace, post-LA Marathon

Rick Wallace has run over 900 miles across the Los Angeles area thanks to his participation in the Los Angeles Marathon every year since its inception in the early 1980s. However, during his most recent jaunt down the city’s roadways in the annual endurance race, the Malibu resident and Realtor perhaps had to overcome his biggest marathon obstacle ever. 

Wallace experienced his first marathon injury. 

Around the 23rd mile of the 26.2-mile event, the 62-year-old strained a tendon in his right knee. Have no fear, though. The runner completed the March 8 long-distance race for the 35th consecutive year. 

“I hobbled the rest of the way,” Wallace recalled a day after the race via email. 

The annual spectacle’s official winners were Bayelign Teshager, a 20-year-old runner from Ethiopia, and 33-year-old Kenyan Margaret Muriuki. Malibu resident Emily Galin finished fourth in a the women’s division, three spots behind Muriuki, with a time of 2 hours and 40 minutes.  She was the fastest-finishing American female. 

Additionally, Travis Gaertner finished first in the men’s handcycling division, and Jenna Roilman won the women’s handcycling section. The wheelchair champs were Vanessa Cristina De Souza and Rafael Botello 

You can’t tell Wallace he isn’t a winner though. His goal each year since completing his first L.A. Marathon in 1984 has been to compete in the event annually. Because of his annual enrolment in the race, Wallace is a Legacy Runner, one of 131 individuals that have ran in every marathon. He said throughout the other runners noticed his distinction thanks to “Legacy Rick” being emblazoned on a bib on the back of his shirt. 

“I was acknowledged and congratulated by maybe 100 other runners going by me during the run,” Wallace said. 

The marathon course started at Dodger Stadium and continued past landmarks like Chinatown, El Pueblo de Los Angles Historic Monument and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The run continues past the Hollywood sign and Rodeo Drive. The finish line is near the Santa Monica Pier after a route down Ocean Drive.

Wallace, also a contributor to The Malibu Times, declined to reveal the time he finished the race, noting that it was his slowest time ever. 

“I knew in training that age was slowing me down,” he said. 

Wallace said leading up to the race day he was having dreams that he missed the start of the marathon. 

“I don’t really worry about finishing,” he wrote in a March 5 email. “I worry about starting, after all these months of training. A broken leg, family crisis, the car won’t start.” 

In his post marathon message, Wallace typed that there is nothing like the first of reaching to the race’s starting line at Dodger Stadium at 5:30 a.m.

“It is cold, and it is dark,” he recalled. “There are hundreds of people milling about under the dimmed stadium lights. And I know I have to get myself to the California Incline. On my own. On my own power. That day. And it is really far away!”

“I finished!” Wallace typed. “My 35th LA Marathon in a row!!”