As the President of A Running Experience Club, I have put in countless hours of my precious time performing a myriad of duties from writing letters to potential sponsors, writing checks to advertisers, writing newsletter articles, organizing teams for races, to making pre-run speeches that are often ignored… all happily done… without pay. But compensation comes in different forms and I believe in karma.
So on Saturday July 20th it was my turn to receive, and receive I did. The Long Beach International City Marathon (LBICM), in partnership with the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau (LBCVB), organized a Press Tour to showcase the new marathon course… and I was invited. Other attendees included representatives of Cal Coast, Gardena Reebok, A Snail’s Pace, and Leisure Leggers running clubs; writers from the Press Telegram, Beachcomber, and Sweat Magazine; and inline skating aficionados.
The day began early with chit-chat and breakfast being served at the downtown Hilton Hotel by 8:45am. After LBICM CEO, and 1968 Olympic gold medallist in the pole vault, Bob Seagren briefed us on this years race activities (including a carbo load dinner inside the Long Beach Aquarium for a mere $16) and their vision for the future, we proceeded outside the lobby to board a Passport shuttle bus at 9:30am. Starting from Shoreline Drive, we toured the initial 6 miles of the course this way, passing over Queensway Bay Bridge and by the Queen Mary in the process. Behind the Aquarium at Pierpoint Landing, 4 large electric beach carts awaited us courtesy of LB Parks Recreation and Marine to cruise by Shoreline Park, Rainbow Harbor and Shoreline Village before paralleling the ocean along 5 miles of the bike path to its end at Ocean and Bayshore (does that intersection sound familiar people? – think Sundays at 8am). At this point we let the carts climb aboard a flatbed truck while we reunited with the Passport to finish the remainder of the course including Colorado Lagoon and the Pyramid at CSULB. Co-race director and COO John Goldman told hilarious near catastrophic stories from races past (I’m sure they weren’t all that funny at the time), and LBCVB PR Manager Bob Maguglin promoted the numerous attractions and attributes of Long Beach all the way back to the finish line on Shoreline Drive.
As if all of this wasn’t enough, at about noon our group boarded Bob Seagren’s “Pacifica” boat from Pine Avenue Pier for a leisurely cruise to Alamitos Bay where we docked, then enjoyed a wonderful lunch at The Crabpot restaurant. Again the Passport was waiting after for a return to the Hilton by 3:00pm. The entire affair was smooth, well organized, fun, and extremely considerate. I give my congratulations to the LBICM and LBCVB for teaming up to put together such a memorable day and my heartfelt “thanks” for the invitation. I am proud to be associated with people who care so much for the event, the city, and the running community.