Alum, senior run Los Angeles Marathon

Both past and present Harvard-Westlake students took part in the 23rd running of the Los Angeles Marathon Sunday, finishing the 26.2 mile course. While Gordon Wintrob ’08 ran his first marathon, finishing in four hours and 50 minutes, Zach Goren ’03 ran competitively and finished in the top 100 out of the world class field that the race attracted.

Goren, both an alumnus and former Advancement Office employee, ran the race with a time of 2:52:22, which was good enough to finish 54th out of the entire 25,000 runners that began the marathon. He finished just under a half-an-hour behind the winner, Kenyan Laban Moiben, who finished with a time of 2:13:50.

Wintrob’s run Sunday marked his first marathon. Outside of his runs on the JV cross country team this past season, he had never run in any organized event before. However, less than a month after ending the season, Wintrob made the decision to start training for the race.

“After I finished cross country, I wanted to work towards a bigger goal,” he said. “It doesn’t get bigger than running in a marathon.”

He soon began an 18 week training course to help him build up for the race. His regimen, which he ran alone, consisted of training five days a week, four of which were running days. It built from a longest run of six miles the first week up to a 20 mile run in week 15 before it began to taper off in the weeks leading up to the race.

The lessons he learned on the cross country team were used as a foundation for the program, teaching him the correct stretching and nutrition that he would need to complete the running, as well as how to mentally prepare for the marathon.

“I already knew what it felt like to wear a bib and run a race,” Wintrob said.

Once the race began, he tried to keep a consistent pace, especially in the early sections of the run so that he could conserve energy. Even so, he still managed to outstrip the nine-minute per mile pace that he had achieved running his half-marathon, which would have put him on pace for a time of under four hours.
Around mile 18, Wintrob allowed himself to drop to a 10 minute pace, but began to feel the fatigue of running a few miles later.

“By the last five miles it’s like a whole different race,” he said. “Every muscle in your body is cramping up, and it’s hot. It’s like the first half of the race is the first 20 miles and the second is the last 6.2.”

Despite the fact that his training never took him past 20 mile runs, Wintrob was still able to fight through the remaining miles and reach the finish line in the middle of the pack. The idea of dropping out due to weariness never really came to mind.

“There were a couple of times in the last five miles of the race where I was right up against the wall,” he said. “However, I was never thinking, ‘this was a bad decision,’ it was always more ‘this is more difficult than I had imagined.’”