Honda LA Marathon Partners with Veterans Groups for 2012 Event
Ride 2 Recovery, Achilles International, Wounded Warriors, U.S. Vets and the USO to participate; Vietnam veteran and LA Marathon legacy runner Johnnie Jameson going for 27th race finish
Posted Wednesday, 14 March, 2012
From Ryan Lamppa, Running USA
LOS ANGELES - (March 12, 2012) - When thousands of runners triumphantly cross the finish line at this year's Honda LA Marathon on Sunday, March 18, there will be many U.S. veterans among them.
One such athlete is Chuck Sketch, who is competing as part of Ride 2 Recovery, a non-profit that helps injured veterans improve their health and wellness through individual and group cycling. Sketch, a blind, double amputee who lost his legs and sight due to a brain tumor, served as a Lance Corporal in the U.S. Marines. He'll be racing in his one-of-a-kind tandem cycle - a recumbent bike in the front and a hand-cranked cycle in the back - called the "Chuck Wagon" that debuted in the 2010 Honda LA Marathon. Chuck's riding partner is John Wordin, founder and president of Ride 2 Recovery.
When asked how he likes riding the Chuck Wagon, Chuck responds, "It was wonderful to feel the wind on my face again. I had forgotten how that feels."
More than 50 other hand cycle athletes will participate including those from Ride 2 Recovery and Achilles International, an organization that works to enable people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics to lower the barriers to living a fulfilling life.
Wounded Warriors, a non-profit organization that raises awareness and enlists the public's aid for the needs of injured service members, will also be represented in this year's race with participants from the Camp Pendleton Marine base.
"We're honored to have so many inspiring veteran participants in this year's Honda LA Marathon," said LA MARATHON LLC Chief Operating Officer Nick Curl. "Many disabled veterans say that being in the race helps them get their lives back on track, but we feel that runners, spectators and fans benefit greatly from their triumphant performances and their stories of healing and hope."
While veterans are conquering the famed Stadium to the Sea course in LA, more than 40 active service members will be running a shadow marathon in Afghanistan created by Captain Jeff Johnson from the 18th Engineer Brigade headquarters.
U.S. Vets and the USO, two official Honda LA Marathon charities, also have teams running and fundraising on their behalf. In fact, radio personality Sean Valentine from 104.3 MYfm is raising funds while he prepares to run the Honda LA Marathon for the USO, whose mission is to lift the spirits of American troops and their families.
The USO will be hosting a USO Entertainment Center featuring local band and entertainment on the VA Property in Los Angeles, on the course at Mile 21 on Eisenhower Avenue at Dewey Avenue.
One veteran who truly encompasses the spirit of the marathon is 64-year-old Vietnam veteran Johnnie Jameson, one of 194 Los Angeles Marathon legacy runners who have run and completed every Honda LA Marathon since the first one, from 1986 to 2011. The 2012 race will be number 27 and counting for him.
Johnnie, who works as a mail carrier, notes: "We all have to look for and find our own positive. I have found my positive, and it is the Los Angeles Marathon, without a doubt! It has helped to keep my mind and body strong, and has been an enormous help in healing my mental wounds. So, I will always be grateful to the city of Los Angeles for continuing these marathons. They inspire me so much."
ABOUT THE RACE: The Honda LA Marathon gives runners and fans a unique way to experience the beauty and diversity of Los Angeles. Now in its third year, the iconic Stadium to the Sea course starts at Dodger Stadium, goes through Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Echo Park and Silver Lake, and passes world-famous landmarks such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Sunset Strip and Rodeo Drive. The race ends on Ocean Avenue near the Santa Monica Pier. The energy, enthusiasm and entertainment along the course are unparalleled.
Visit LAmarathon.com for more information.