Catherine Yu

Reaching the milestones

A total of 26.2 miles from Los Angeles to Santa Monica. That’s how far junior Catherine Yu had to run for the annual Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday, Feb. 13.

Yu was encouraged to join the event by her mother, who had previously run two half-marathons and enjoys running as a hobby.

“[This marathon] was really special for her since this is her first full marathon with her daughter,” Yu said.

While Yu didn’t physically train herself like her mother, she worked on mentally preparing herself instead.

“Emotionally, I knew it was going to be tough, so I just told myself to think positively and don’t think about giving up,” Yu said. “I just thought about how [my mother] started running five years ago and how she lives a really healthy lifestyle.”

On the day of the race, Yu and her mother took off their run from the Dodger’s Stadium at 7 a.m with thousands of other runners. The course, ending in Santa Monica, passed through diverse parts of Los Angeles, including the Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“You get to see the city while running. It’s really different from running in the country. I never experienced Los Angeles this way where you get to see every store and corner,” Yu said. “You never view the city the same again.”

For Yu, the most memorable aspect of the marathon was the enthusiasm of the runners and sideline volunteers.

“All the participants cheered up each other, and the volunteers put time and effort into this marathon,” Yu said. “During the last several miles, I could tell that the runners looked really exhausted, but no one complained about it. People tried to spread the optimism.”

Yu’s goal was to finish within 6.5 hours and gave herself a certain time limit to finish each mile. However, in the middle of the run, she realized that she would not be able to reach her goal and instead shifted her attention to just completing the course.

“I did try really hard for the first ten miles until I realized there was no chance [to reach my goal],” Yu said. “I was disappointed at first, but I just focused on reaching the finish line. When I finished, I just felt really surprised that I actually did it.”

When Yu was close to giving up, other runners inspired her to push herself and keep on going until the end.

“[I was] touched when I encountered the disabled participants,” Yu said. “I saw a person with only one leg. When he went past me, I felt like there was no reason for me to give up.”

At the end of the grueling run, Yu and her mother received medals for their participation.

“Afterwards, I just felt like it was a great experience, and I would’ve regretted it if I didn’t finish,” Yu said. “I felt so accomplished because I never thought I’d finish a marathon.”

By Natalie Jiang, Staff writer

Photo courtesy of Catherine Yu