First published in the Nov. 18 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.
Courtesy of City News Service
Pasadena resident and Flintridge Sacred Heart alumna Kayla Grahn placed fourth out of 3,229 female finishers at the Los Angeles Marathon on Nov. 7.
Grahn was the top American woman finisher with a time of two hours, 48 minutes and 26 seconds in what remarkably was her first-ever marathon. Natasha Cockram of Wales was the women’s winner in 2:33:16. (A U.S. runner last won the women’s race in 1994.)
A field estimated by organizers at more than 13,000 runners, from 50 nations and all 50 states, left from Dodger Stadium then ran through downtown Los Angeles, Echo Park, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood and Brentwood then back through Westwood to the finish in Century City. The race was run under near-ideal conditions, with an overcast sky and temperatures in the 60s.
“It was amazing,” said Grahn, a 2015 FSHA graduate who also competed collegiately at Georgetown University. “It was my first marathon; it went better than expected. My original goal was to break three hours. I never thought that I’d be where I am now. I definitely want to qualify for the Olympic Trials in the marathon.
“I’m still basking in the adrenaline [from the race],” she added. “All of the people cheering – it was a surreal experience. My family was very proud. They were all excited that I had this experience but couldn’t have imagined this fourth-place finish.”
In high school, Grahn won the Mission League individual cross-country championship in the fall of her senior year, then set a school-record in the 3,200 meters (10:59) to capture the Sunshine League title the following spring.
Because of the persistent pandemic, this year’s 26-mile, 385-yard “Stadium to the Stars” course was run in November rather than the typical March. The 2022 event will be back to its regular schedule and is just four months away.
The men’s competition was won by Kenyan John Korir, who completed the course in 2:12:47. The top American finisher was Pasadena resident Bijan Mazaheri, who placed fourth in 2:21:42. Mazaheri is a doctoral student in computing and mathematical sciences and volunteer assistant cross-country coach at Caltech.
This was the first time that the race, which was founded in 1986, was run in the fall. It has been held in March since its inaugural edition in 1986, except for 2009 and 2016.
Proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a proof of a negative COVID-19 test was required prior to entry for all participants, staff, volunteers, media and spectators entering the secured start line area at Dodger Stadium. Face coverings were required while inside the Dodger Stadium start line secured area, except when actively eating or drinking. Runners were allowed to remove their face coverings after crossing the start line.