Cal State Long Beach, normally stagnant with little activity on a Sunday morning, was vigilant with approximately 150 volunteers and supporters eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Long Beach Marathon.
The 33rd annual JetBlue Long Beach Marathon & Half Marathon kicked off at at 6 a.m. on Sunday, bringing over 17,000 participants together. The City of Long Beach closed main streets Park Avenue, Ximeno Avenue and Palos Verdes Avenue down for the route. The race started in downtown Long Beach near the Aquarium of the Pacific, reaching CSULB at the 16-mile mark.
Paramedics occupied the lower part of Beach Drive. volunteers set out cups of water in anticipation of thirsty runners who would soon pass through on the home stretch of their run. Typically, at this point in the race, runners are exhausted and in need of refreshments. As volunteers waited at specified locations throughout the campus, they began to cheer when they finally arrived.
Jonathan Ibarra, Associated Students Inc. assistant beach pride event coordinator, was present at the beginning stretch of the campus route. Ibarra along with many other volunteers, eagerly cheered on the runners as they made their way uphill. Ibarra said that vocalizing support for those running the marathon was important.
“Our campus is the hardest part of the run. By the time [runners] get to our campus they are exhausted, they’re tired,” Ibarra said. “With us being here supporting our campus and community gives them that extra push that they need to finish the marathon.”
As for volunteers at the event, Ibarra said, “For students it’s like, we’re a commuter school, but there are ways to show our campus pride and to be here is like one of those events where they can like literally come out scream, it’s what I like about [the marathon].”