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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

Another story about running now, this one right in our own backyard. The Los Angeles Marathon is Sunday. It's one day every year that the city known for freeways actually focuses on a more human locomotion.

Poet Lewis MacAdams lives in downtown L.A., along the marathon route. Here's a little observation, one of what he calls his Close to Home stories.

(Soundbite of motorcycle engine)

Mr. LEWIS MACADAMS (Poet): My wake up call came before the crack of dawn from about 30 Harley Davidsons rumbling to a halt nine floors below me. I tried to fight my way back to sleep, as somebody cranked up a wall of thumping Jackson 5.

(Soundbite of music)

MACADAMS: How do you tell a Christian motorcycle club and their old ladies, everybody tattooed up to the shoulders of their cutoff jean jackets with Set Free patches sewn over their hearts to shut up? You don't bother.

I love the L.A. Marathon. It's the one day of the year that cars get kicked to the curb across vast swaths of the city. I made myself coffee, climbed into some sweats, descended into the street where, eyes stinging and bleary, a few dazed residents joined the homeless huddled in the doorways as the frontrunners of the wheelchair contingent rolled by.

For me, these guys are the marathon's heroes. They all have the shoulders of Hercules, the torsos of Zeus, and useless appendages stretching out in front of them, little leg stubs with black gloves covering unusable toes. Yet every one of them is leaning into it, whirring toward the finish line, as the Christian motorcycle ladies run after them spilling little cups of water. But none of the rollers even looks up. Everyone along the street is cheering, yelling go-go-go to the wheeling man-machines.

An hour later, almost as an afterthought, come the runners. They are the aristocrats of human locomotion, an east African phalanx running straight up with perfect posture, expressionless. After 26 miles they're barely breaking a sweat, not remotely out of breath, skinny legs and rib cages showing.

But what's really amazing is that despite the helicopter camera ship hovering and the chase cars rolling alongside, fewer and fewer people are paying any attention. The stores are opening up. The crone in the doorway starts screeching again. The crazy Japanese lady in the fur hat and high heeled boots begins to dance.

The runners are just too unapproachably perfect for people in this neighborhood, I guess. We're drawn to the wheelchair racers doing the best that they can with all that they've got left.

CHADWICK: It's a Close to Home story from Los Angeles poet Lewis MacAdams.

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