The Pasadena Marathon Infiltrated

[NOTE: The following is a repost of an entry written about the 2009 Pasadena Marathon.  The 2011 Marathon was held yesterday.  And just like in 2008 and 2009, the Almighty again expressed his displeasure with the event by ensuring a miserable, rainy morning.  When will these foolish mortals learn??]

“Apres nous, le deluge”
(“After us, the flood”) – King Louis XV

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana

“And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven” – Genesis 6:17

A saga in which God Almighty expresses His clear and direct displeasure at the existence of the Pasadena Marathon in 2009 – just as He so amply displayed in 2008.Forgive us O Lord for overdeveloping Pasadena, the Holy Land of the West.

First, Lest We Forget, The 2008 Pasadena Marathon Debacle

In November 2008, the much-hyped First Inaugural Pasadena Marathon was CANCELED at the last minute, only two hours before it was set to start.  Why?  Did you forget already?  Because of the smoldering hellfire, ash and smoke enveloping Pasadena (and all of Southern California) at the time.  Man, you people have no memory at all…sure, this guy has a Cowboys shirt on, but you remember now, right?  This was the Southern California Inferno.

Smoke From Pasadena Wildfire

Anyway, it was a disaster – thousands of people had already trained, paid, and rearranged their lives around the event, only to have it chaotically canceled at the last moment.  The reason?  Participants could die from smoke inhalation.  Do we need any further signs that this is not an event sanctioned by the universe?  Yes.  Fast forward to the rescheduled date of March 22nd…

REGISTERING FOR THE MARATHON: THEY WILL TRY TO SELL YOU A BUNCH OF CRAP

The Pasadena Snob staff participated in the 2009 Pasadena Marathon as one would participate in a painful, yet valuable, scientific experiment.  Reluctantly, and against our better judgment and finely honed natural instincts.  But we participated nonetheless, so you did not have to.

Step 1: Register.  Never mind that you already registered online and paid $50 or more; now you must appear the day before the event at the Pasadena Convention Center to get your number and tracking microchip.  Much like appearing at court or checking in to prison.  Except this time, you will be “upsold”.

The Registration/Upsell Pavilion

pasadena marathon registration

The scene within contains a few tables where you get your race number and register, and then..as you move around the corner…BAM!  Dozens of booths filled with sad eyed, exhausted entrepreneurs trying to sell you a bunch of crap, set against a background of loud, pump-you-up music blared out from the depths of hell.  Need some spandex running thongs?  Mystery gel to snort while powering through Mile 19?  Strange stick to rub against your calves?  Foot detox (not a joke)?  Step right up.

Let’s face it, what is sadder than an entrepreneur trying to ramp up a business related to running?  After all, isn’t running the only hobby, the only sport, where literally no accessories are required?  All you need is shoes; and some some runners (like those from Kenya that win everything), don’t even need those.  The Pasadena Upsell Marathon Registration Pavilion was truly the refuge of the business-plan damned…best to walk quickly to the exit with our eyes to the ground…but let’s get on to the event…

THE MORNING OF THE MARATHON: WAIT, WHY DID I AGREE TO DO THIS AGAIN?

“Seems it never rains in Southern California
Seems I’ve often heard that kind of talk before
It never rains in California
But girl, don’t they warn ya
It pours man it pours.”

Its 4 or 5 something AM on a Sunday.  The alarm goes off.  It is the morning of the Pasadena Marathon. Let us go outside to get ready for a beautiful ramble through our beautiful city as a part of a first annual event: fifty years from now this will be a hallowed tradition, right?…The Pasadena Marathon!

OMINOUS FEELINGS OF FOREBODING

Let’s check the weather before we venture outside to get to the marathon….

pasadena marathon weather screenshot

54 degrees?  In L.A. temperature that’s like 20 below!  Not cool.  OK, so it’ll just be cold….we can get warm in the race!

IT”S 4:47AM, DARK, COLD, AND RAINING LIKE HELL

We step outside to proceed to the Pasadena Marathon…and it’s not only cold and dark but it’s raining like hell outside.  But surely it will stop soon.

Let’s get to the race, which is starting at Pasadena Community College on Colorado.

walking up Hill Ave to Pasadena Marathon

MARCH OF THE DAMNED

As you get closer, more strands of people start to coalesce in a stream to approach the starting area.

walking up Hill Ave to Pasadena Marathon

But it’s starting to dawn on everyone that it’s really, really raining.  Like you-have-to-talk-loud raining.  Like you-feel-the-soaked-back-of-your-shirt-clinging-to-your-spine raining.  You understand.

Everyone is thinking thoughts like, “why the hell am I here again?” and “I can’t believe I actually had to pay them to do this” – but no one expresses these thoughts out loud because the air is filled with Mutual Forced Enthusiasm.

THE MASOCHISTS ASSEMBLED: OR, THE AWFUL BUILD UP AND A CHAOTIC FALL OF SAIGON VIBE

As you approach the starting area you see, through the freezing rain, a bizarre holding pen, full of thousands of masochists, standing in the pouring rain, bathed in red light, with a booming PA system in use where someone is barking, shouting commands at the poor, freezing saps, from somewhere.  “THIS MUST BE FUN BECAUSE I AM RELENTLESSLY YELLING AT YOU ABOUT HOW MUCH FUN IT IS!”
Those smart enough to not be a part of the race, but are rather a more commercially or administrationally sanctioned  part of it, are afforded the luxury of shelter.
Not us, however, the victims who actually chose to be participants…
Pasadena Marathon tents in the rain
Pasadena Marathon holding pens
Below, the Porta Potties.  Why bother when its raining so hard you could just pee down your leg and no one would notice?
Pasadena Marathon port-o-johns
LEMMINGS HEADED FOR THE BEACH: OR, THESE PEOPLE PROBABLY JUST NEED A HUG OR SOMETHING, AND THEY MIGHT BE OK
The real athletes, by which we mean people with such deep voids in their lives that they will run 26 miles for no good reason, are about to begin their race.
Pasadena Marathon runners waiting for start

Surely these people must be carrying loads of guilt for something, as they feel such a compulsion to punish themselves.

And they are off!

Pasadena Marathon runners waiting back of line
To get a few seconds of the experience the moments when they start taking off on their 26 mile journey, see video below.  Note the discomforting Fall-Of-Saigon vibe:
A CONTRADICTION IN TERMS: THE “FUN RUN”
Just what is a “fun run”, you ask?  It is a 5k (that’s kilometers, which is like 20 feet in our system) event held simultaneously with the 26 mile marathon.
It’s like sitting at the kid’s table at Thanksgiving dinner.
In short, it’s a group of lazy poseurs, dilettantes – people with nothing else to do on a freezing Sunday morning.  People too weak to do the real thing; people with a desperate need to be connected to some event, no matter how futile and meaningless.
If the Pasadena Marathon was being stalked by a group of hungry lions, this is the population that would be instantly marked as weak and picked off, one by one.
And we are among them.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have successfully infiltrated the 5K Fun Run.
Now that the real athletes have left the gate, we funrunners (TM) must all assemble…note the confused looks…
Pasadena Marathon 5k runners assemble
Waiting for the quote action unquote…
Pasadena 5K Race waiting to start

Out of nowhere, State Seantor Carol Liu takes the mike.  Surely this is too much – we are being abused.

Not only have we been shamelessly upsold (see above), yelled at and assaulted with upbeat music at the crack of dawn – now we must be exposed to forced political pandering?

In her ridiculous mini-speech, Carol Liu gives props to her supposedly hard working “Liu Crew” for showing up.  Apparently this wasn’t a plum assignment.

And who’s that in front of us?

Carol Liu Crew

Note the apathy.  We watched the Liu Crew take off on the funrun (TM), and we must tell you that they did not run, nor did they have fun.  They walked slowly, in a haze, in a perfunctory and reluctant manner which, if reflecting anything about Carol Liu’s ability to be a Senator, should be grounds for impeachment.

We shall resist further comparisons between her team’s performance and her politics.  After all, these are not only State Employees, they are also Democrats, which means that anything done should be expected to be done inefficiently and with great noise and self congratulation, much like a four year old child.  And we should always show such children not scorn, but empathy.

 AND WE’RE OFF WITH A WHIMPER, OR, THE RAT RACE BEGINS

“The problem with the rat race is, even if you win, you’re still a rat” – Lily Tomlin, 1977

Below:  a scene in which the 5k “race” starts, and those people who care about winning a race where no one, by definition, should care about winning, break out from the herd.

5k Pasadena Fun Run begins

QUICKLY OVERTAKEN BY AN 85 YEAR OLD MAN, AND OTHER RAMBLINGS

Yes the photo below is blurry.  It is what is called “action photography”.  Please don’t show your ignorance of such artistic matters!

Anyway, we were quickly taken by an 85 year old man.  Note the center of the picture below – note the red plaid pants, tan Member’s Only jacket and tweed cap. How do we know?  Because he told everyone, “I’m 85 years old”.  Cute the first time – but by the twentieth time he exclaimed it, you realised he was just lonely.  God bless his soul.  Probably because he went home and dropped dead.  We can affirm that he did not drop dead during the race (yes we were watching).

5K Fun Run senior citizen

The man had leather shoes on, for f***’s sake.  Can any of us delude ourselves with thinking this is really an athletic event any longer?

Which begs the question…

Pasadena Marathon in Caltech

The “charade parade” progresses down California towards Lake…

Pasadena Marathon 5K fun run along Del Mar Blvd

APPROPRIATELY SHUNNED BY LOCALS

Let’s take a moment to pause here.

As we round the corner of Del Mar and something, we see the first and last show or neighborhood support.

Pasadena Marathon spectators

Look carefully at the center of the picture – if you had a flashlight, you would see 5 miserable people awkwardly standing or awkwardly sitting on folding chairs.

Luckily, we were prepared with nightvision cameras used in Desert Storm, and we can zoom in and boost the brightness of the picture…let’s zoom in on the crowd of well wishers.

5k run spectators

This makes a total of 5 local spectators.  And 2 of them on the right look like they may just have been waiting 2 hours to cross the street.

Surely proof that the community has, like the Almighty, completely abandoned the Pasadena Marathon as an event that should ever have existed.

HEADING TO THE FINISH LINE OR SOMETHING, I GUESS

appraoching Pasadena Marathon finish line

We knew we were reaching the finish line.  How? We could hear the ever upbeat voice booming through the PA system –

“ANDHERECOMESSOANDSOWHOMANAGEDTOPAYFIFTYBUCKSTOWALKFIVEBLOCKS
INTHERAINWHATASUCKERLETSGIVEABIGROUNDOFAPPLAUSETOBLAHBLAHBLAH”

WE”RE GONNA CROSS THE FINISH LINE, BUT IT’S RAINING SO HARD NO ONE COULD POSSIBLY CARE

The heavens open again.  Water falls like you are standing in the shower, but with your clothes on.

Although we’ve walked the entire “fun run”, its raining so hard, we actually start exercising by rushing to the finish line, just to get the hell off the street.  How unpleasant on a Sunday morning!The Pasadena Marathon:  a group of people with not enough sense to get in out of the rain.

crossing Pasadena Marathon finish line
THE AFTERMATH – FEELINGS OF NUMBNESS AND REGRET

Hard questions must be asked: questions like -why did i do this?  Why can’t I feel my hands?  What just happened?

Most importantly, why does God clearly hate the Pasadena Marathon?

HARD LESSONS LEARNED AND COMMANDMENTS BROKEN – OR, WHY GOD HATES THE PASADENA MARATHON

Reason #1:  The First Commandment – “Remember the Sabbath, and keep it holy” – the Marathon not only takes place during church hours on Sunday, but all the road closures prevent church attenders from attending church on time.

Reason #2:  Vanity – This cardinal sin is rampant – Pasadena is getting too cutesy and self aware on this one.  The Rose Bowl and Rose Parade are just enough.  Any more is hubris.

Reason #3:  Sloth – Another cardinal sin.  Witness the 5k fun run.

Reason #4:  Greed – Upsold, cross sold relentlessly. Too much.

Conclusion:  The Pasadena Marathon Must Never Ever Happen Again!

Posted from Pasadena, California, United States.

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2 Responses to The Pasadena Marathon Infiltrated

  1. Ang May 17 at 3:20 pm #

    This post is a few years old but I wonder if you had or have since participated in a running event. You described what happens at pretty much every running event.

    Expo–sometimes running more than 20 feet is nicer when you have the right socks, pants, hydration system and even anti chafing salves. I found an excellent head band at a recent expo.

    5k fun run–running three miles us pretty easy (although it sounds like something not worth your effort) but some runners do 5k races in between longer races. They usually run much faster than their marathon pace so it is actually challenging. Or, people who have decided to do something healthy in their lives start off with these shorter races and get bitten by the running bug. I would hardly call running 3 miles early on a Saturday when most people are still in their jammies slothfull.

    It is sad that you missed the fun of running. Even in the rain (I feel hard core running in a diwnpour). Completing a race of any distance is exciting when you know you have given it your best effort. And the sense of community with other runners lets you know that the world is still a friendly and lovely place.

    • pasadenasnob May 18 at 7:04 pm #

      Thank you for correcting me. You’re right. I take back everything I wrote above. I am totally going to participate in the 2012 Pasadena Marathon. Do you think they will object to me doing it in a golf cart?

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