Local marathon runner, Anita Pulido, just keeps chugging along. Last Sunday, March 8, the 80-year-old grandmother finished the Los Angeles Marathon for the 25th year in a row. As part of a massive gathering of some 27,000 runners, Pulido started at Dodger Stadium and ran all the way down to Santa Monica where she completed the race at the famous pier. “If you’ve ever been a runner, that’s the frosting on the cake,” said Pulido of the challenge.
Pulido, who has been a runner for nearly 45 years, has always been active, running in between games of softball and rounds of golf. She competed in shorter distances, such as 5Ks and 10Ks, and participated in the first women’s run in Santa Barbara. Back in 1996 at the age of 55, she was encouraged by her husband Alex, also her running partner, and a friend at Cal State Los Angeles to take a shot at the marathon. At the time, Pulido had only jogged six-mile intervals and was hesitant to attempt to run a marathon. Five days a week she used the Carpinteria Bluffs, Rincon Beach, Seacliff and the Pacific Coast Highway as training grounds to prepare.
When the day came, all the hard work Pulido had put in paid off as she finished the LA Marathon. “I wanted to cry, it was so overwhelming,” said Pulido. All that running developed into a hobby and Pulido continued to run through Seacliff. She would often stop to use the bathroom at the fire station, and later thank the firefighters by bringing them a box of candy. The habit led to one marathon after another for over two decades. “I’ve been blessed with good health. When you’re running and you don’t have pain and you love
what you’re doing, why wouldn’t you
(continue),” said Pulido.
Over the years, she has been accompanied at times by her daughters Laura, Leslie and Lorraine in the annual LA event. For the past seven years, she’s been walking up the Franklin Trail with a small group of women. She also runs down it four days a week and on the fifth day does her regular regimen, the Seacliff route. But this past December her string of good health came to an end when she popped her knee at Seacliff, tearing her meniscus.
Although she lost some training time, with the help of Dr. Eduardo Clark at Samsun Clinic and the folks at Via Real Physical Therapy, Pulido was able to get back on course. This year was special for Pulido too, because it’s the first year she competed as an octogenarian with four other women also 80 and older. Pulido’s daughter Lorraine also joined this year for the first time since 2015, and coaxed her husband Brandon Bono to enter the race for the very first time.
The trio completed the race. “This year, I finally feel like a real runner, she (Pulido) always used to tell me, ‘Just don’t worry about that (pain), and have faith and trust in yourself and your body,” said Lorraine. Bono was also richer for the experience. “All of the people along the course are so unselfish; they hand out water and bananas and they might not even know anybody in the race,” said Bono. “You see the good in humans, it’s something you don’t see every day.” And, it’s a good bet he’ll see his mother-in-law out there again next year.