Jim Davis - Sylmar Resident • Rockstar Athlete • LA Marathon

Posted on 03/16/2023

Going Toward the Finish Line Again – Sylmar Senior Aims to Finish LA Marathon for the 38th Time

March 15, 2023

Article credit - The San Fernando Sun

Even at 82 years old and after getting both his knees replaced, Jim Davis is undeterred from participating in the 38th annual Los Angeles Marathon, which he has run in since the event’s inception in 1986.

The Sylmar resident is looking forward to the Marathon on Sunday, March 19. Davis has participated in every single Marathon since its beginning almost four decades ago. Although there isn’t an official club for legacy runners who have been in every event since the beginning, Davis is happy to be part of such a group.

“Last year [in 2022], when we did it, they said there’s 107 of us that have done them all since 1986,” Davis said. “And it’s a challenge to be able to stay in it because [I’m] getting older, you know.”

Part of that challenge is the fact he can’t run anymore. Davis has two bionic knees which he can’t run with, otherwise he risks damaging them and would result in another painful knee surgery to get them replaced.

Still, Davis doesn’t let that keep him down. He keeps in shape by taking long walks around the neighborhood and on hiking trails: six miles on Monday, between three to four miles from Tuesday to Thursday, 10 miles on Friday and four miles on Saturday.

“Running was the one thing that I was good at,” Davis said. “It was like my gift from God and I enjoyed it. I’ve had some really good times with what I used to do. [But] I have a good time now, you know, walking without any pain.”

Although he can’t move as fluidly as before, he enjoys his hikes, especially when he starts early in the morning before the sun comes up and he gets to watch the sun rise over the mountains.

The rainstorms that have battered the West Coast on and off this year have impacted his training schedule, however, as he’s had to take some time off when it rained heavily. He recalled one time getting caught in a thunderstorm and came home looking like he had just jumped into a swimming pool.

Davis still enjoys walking in the rain, though, and will take any opportunity he can to keep his body moving. He said that he doesn’t ever see himself not being active.

“I don’t anticipate it. I don’t even think about it because I keep moving.”

Davis plans on walking through the marathon in under seven hours, just as he did last year with a time of 6:56.

“I plan to do better this year than I’ve done [before].”

Sylmar Resident, 81, Adds to his LA Marathon “Legacy”

March 23, 2022

Article credit - The San Fernando Sun

There is no official LA Legacy Marathon Runners club, but if there was one, a prominent member would be Jim Davis.

The Sylmar resident, who turned 81 last August, ran in the 37th annual Los Angeles Marathon held on Sunday, March 20. Davis is one of a handful of those who have appeared in and completed every LA Marathon since the event began in 1986.

Davis completed the 26.2-mile course in 6:56, meeting his own goal of finishing in under seven hours and earning another medal. 

“I walk more than I run now,” he said the day after. “I jogged the first couple of miles, then I walked, although I would jog to the mile markers. I also took a few small breaks. But it’s still a joy to do this.”

Davis doesn’t just walk for marathons. He walks six days a week, doing six miles on Monday, three miles Tuesday through Thursday, 10 miles on Friday, and four miles on Saturday. He used to walk every day but now rests on Sunday.

It helps him keep fit enough to do the marathon, although the circumstances this year were a bit different. Although the race is usually run in March, the 2021 race was pushed to November because of the pandemic, leaving less time to prepare for the 2022 event.

But Davis was determined to continue being a Legacy Runner.

“There were, I think, about 116 of us out there [on March 20] but I don’t know how many finished this time,” Davis said.

He had his own struggles. Davis, like the other marathoners, was occasionally pressed by the windy conditions that made it hard at times to maintain the 13-minutes a mile pace he likes. He pushed himself a little harder than he anticipated early in the race and found himself running low on energy.

“That was also because I don’t always eat enough,” Davis said.

He added that the layout of the course this time “felt weird” to him.

“Very flat,” Davis said. “When you can still see people running from two miles away, it is challenging [to figure out] how far and fast to go before you get to another place to make a turn. The last five miles was really like that. At the turnaround on Santa Monica Boulevard, you are still going out and seeing people coming in on the other side of the street.”

Still, Davis never thought about ending his race prematurely. There will come a time when he will be unable to complete a marathon, but it wasn’t going to be this marathon.

“Being a Legacy Runner is a big thing,” he said, noting they are all given special jerseys each year acknowledging their status. “People come up to you on the course during the race and congratulate you for being one. They inspire me.”

At the end of the race, Davis said he was “inspired” to do one more thing when he got home.

“I sent out messages to friends that I did it, then fell asleep. I didn’t wake up until 11 p.m. [that night].”

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