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A 26-Mile Art-Lined Long Beach Marathon

First-time marathoner Abigail Swift of Huntington Beach qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon and Edwin Romero of Bogata, Colombia defied an untied shoe as they became the female and male winners of the 27th annual Long Beach Marathon Sunday. Swift finished in two hours, 43 minutes, 20 seconds, and Romero completed the 26- mile, 385-yard course in 2:19:08, a time he said would have been faster except his shoelaces became untied in the 22nd mile.


(You heard it here, children, and please don’t say, “but he still won.”)


Along with the sport of it all, run organizers are trying to make the Long Beach International City Bank Marathon into a 26-mile art experience. Art created by patients at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach was featured on all the mile markers. A silent auction was held for the mile markers, with all proceeds going to Artful Healing, the hospital’s art program for its patients.


“Our young patient artists gain comfort and self-assurance while creating art,” said Denise Clayton-Leonard, Artful Healing’s artist in residence. “They like feeling needed and have taken ownership of this project. It’s elevated our patients to a more assertive level of empowerment than ever before.”


For the first time, several hundred themed murals were placed along the course from the San Diego-based Art Miles Mural Project. There were also 26 murals painted by marathon participants and associated groups.


“Long Beach has a vibrant arts community and we hope to inspire the local artists and the entire Southern California arts community to eventually host a major art exhibit in association with the marathon,” said John Parks, executive vice president of marketing for Run Racing, which owns and operates the race. “We think it will make the marathon event unique and nationally distinct.” A Long Beach Fire Department spokesman said no emergencies were reported during the marathon.


Male winner Romero finished third last year. Swift needed a time of 2:45 was required to qualify for the women’s portion of the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon, which will be held Jan. 14 in Houston. Lindsay Nelson of Roseville was second in the women’s race in 2:57:52. Jose Morales of Turlock, also a first-time marathoner, was second in the men’s race in 2:24:46.


“I tried to catch Edwin, but the hills at Long Beach State kind of got to me,” Morales said.


Published by Belmont Shore Patch.

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