Los Angeles, Ca. — Three American men have taken home the Asics Los Angeles Marathon title in its 28 years, Rick Sayre in the inaugural 1986, Mark Plaatjes in 1991, and rabbit-going-the-distance Paul Pilkington in 1994. And while we already know that an American man will win in L.A. in 2016, that title will go to the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials champion, an event recently awarded to the City of Angels. No, like every other race in the world, it seems, the Asics Los Angeles Marathon has starred a primarily Kenyan cast, as their men have taken home 14 of the last 15 L.A. stagings. But this year, though there is another well-matched gathering of East Africans on hand, Kenyan and Ethiopian, an American man is actually among the nominees for the L.A. Marathon podium. Which step on that podium? That, my friends, is why they actually run the race, to answer just that sort of question.
“Oh, yeah, I feel ready,” said Alamosa, Colorado’s Aaron Braun as he sat in the Presidential Suite of the glamorous Biltmore Hotel in downtown L.A., which doubles this week as the marathon’s invited athlete suite. “You never know what can happen, but I definitely feel super fit and really ready.”
Hearing such talk from a runner of any nationality is disorienting. We generally don’t hear such potent positivity from anyone in this sport of rampant over-achievers, but timid under-staters, much less from an American making his marathon debut. But 26 year-old Aaron Braun has thought through this effort, and when you are ready, you are ready, even though L.A. wasn’t his first choice for a maiden voyage over the long distance. Continue reading