The marine layer engulfed Dodger stadium at 5am on a Sunday morning. Runners from all over the world gathered to celebrate healthy exercise and the city of Los Angeles. Despite the thick fog, the runners were ready to take on a mammoth challenge.

This year’s top female athlete, Hellen Jepkurgat, traveled to Los Angeles from her home in Kenya to compete in the elite female athlete category. Despite being held back by her pace group, she finished first with an impressive two hours thirty-four minutes and twenty-three seconds according to the official L.A. Marathon tracker. Jepkurgat had a hard time keeping the same pace as her fellow runners. According to Los Angeles Daily News, the pack of women racers “kept clipping her heals” and showed “no interest” in upping their pace.

Santa Monica College’s own Kathy Pho, the Associated Student Director of Activities, had a very different experience. She mentioned that “the community of runners [were] so supportive because we’re going the exact same thing...” Pho witnessed multiple times that “[Runners] would stop their own run to help other people.” Not only the runners themselves, but the communities that the route ran through came together to support the 24,000 marathon athletes. Pho explained that “it wasn’t just one group of people supporting the whole city, it was many groups of people...” that came out to show their support. With help from her running partner, Jacob Lee, Pho finished her race in seven hours, fourteen minutes, and twenty-six seconds in honor her father and one of her biggest supporters throughout her race, Que Pho, who had originally ran the Los Angeles Marathon in 1994. When asked if she would consider running the race again, Pho stated “I don’t know if I will be participating in another marathon...but to have experienced it at least once, with such a positive attitude, it is something I can never forget.”