When George Good wakes up Sunday morning to run his 27th L.A. Marathon he may be the only runner heading out the door in slacks and a business jacket.
The Hollywood Hills resident often trains with Holmes, a 7-year-old Labrador and poodle mix, who knows that when the running shorts come out, it’s time to hit the trails.
“[On race day] I put on a disguise,” Good said. “I don’t want to break the poor little guy’s heart!”
He admits it sounds a little crazy. “To run 26 miles you got to be a little out there,” he joked.
Good, 70, is a "legacy runner," meaning he's one of 195 people registered for Sunday's race who have run in each Los Angeles Marathon since it began in 1986.
“When we started out we didn’t know we’d run all the marathons,” Good said. “I didn’t know I’d do the second one after the first. It sneaks up on you... but then you want to keep up the streak.”
It’s a streak that took root 35 years ago when Good started racing his then-teenage son.
"He said, 'Dad, let’s have a race,' and that little son of a gun beat me. He smoked me!" Good said. "So I started running a bit to see if I could catch up with him. He quit, and I kept on running. He’s 50 now.”
To prepare for the marathon, Good runs the streets, fire roads and trails near his Mulholland Drive home three to four times a week with Holmes and Holmes’ half-brother, Don Julio (who belongs to Good’s daughter). On early morning runs he comes across deer, coyotes and the occasional bobcat.
Getting to the starting line each year isn’t always a breeze. He suffered a heart attack in 2003 and again in 2009. After the first one, his doctor ran the last six miles of the race with him. Now they’re good friends.
This year, at a pace of 12 to 13 minutes a mile, Good estimates it will take him five to six hours to complete the race. In 2011 his finishing time was five hours and 52 minutes.
He’ll have his wife, kids and grandchildren cheering him on. “It’s encouraging and one of the most fun things to see,” he said.
The begins at Dodger Stadium and winds through areas including Downtown, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Century City and Santa Monica.
“It’s a great city we live in,” Good said. “A lot of people don’t appreciate it as much, but if you run 26 miles of it, you’ll have a whole different outlook.”
Understandably, Good says his favorite part of the race is the finish line, but he loves seeing well-wishers and kids ready to give high-fives along the route.
Last year he posed for a photo in West Hollywood’s Boystown with a man who was cheering on the runners dressed in drag and sporting a mustache.
“I gave him my address, but he never sent me a copy of the photo,” Good recalled.
With , marathon organizers are preparing to have trash bags on hand to keep runners dry at the starting line, and they will distribute Mylar heating blankets at 10 medical stations along the route and finish line.
Good remembered that as he neared the finish of last year’s race, making the turn from San Vicente Boulevard onto Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, he heard the wind whistling and felt its chill.
He has run many other races in all sorts of conditions, including the Boston and New York marathons, so he said he wasn't too concerned about the forecast for rain during Sunday's race.
“It’s fun anyway," he said, "no matter the weather.”