1999 LA Marathon

A tribute to race director, Nan Harman

One of the most influential race directors on the west coast, Nan Harman. She worked tirelessly to ensure the safety and respect of both the Los Angeles Marathon and the Mobil 10k for more than a decade.

There are a few phone numbers that stick out in my mind, to be more precise 4 of them. My household phone growing up in NY, my family phone in Vermont, the roller guys, Doug and Jerry and finally Nan Harman’s. I bet I called that number a hundred times and considering it was a landline I was unclear it would even connect. But it did, and when Nan finally got back to me yesterday the memories came flooding back. Whereas in most of the previous calls it was largely about race business, this one was just about where the road had taken us for the past 2 decades, grandchildren and many other life things that had accumulated over so much time. It was great! I won’t go into great detail, however Nan and her family are well and happy. She remembers many of you as if it were yesterday. Needless to say I had the utmost respect for her commitment to her job, but more than that we had a lot of laughs along the way too. She was recounting how Craig Blanchette bounced out of the vehicle in front of the hotel in Torrance, only to get his skateboard and load his chair box on his back and take it into the hotel. In 89 I did the Prefontaine race and the same exact thing happened with me. Craig hopped out of his pink VW Van, dropped onto his board and took my chair off the carousel before I could climb in his van! Believe it or not the Mobil race was the very start of the ESPN shows. She had more or less begged the TV crew there to shoot the chairs, but they were reluctant. Then came a notorious crash on a hairpin turn and the chair race had all it needed to get focus. Thus the start of 7 years of “In Pursuit!” Funny how irony takes place in the unfolding of many life events.

Ok–so I had already posted the video for the 99 LA Marathon, but have my Archives only set up to hold 20 past pieces. In Nan’s honor I am reloading it right now for your enjoyment one more time. This race was a classic. Mendoza ruled the streets of LA and Frei had come to town to take that title. It is a 26 mile dual that is settled in the last 10 meters. You won’t want to miss it!

2 Comments on “1999 LA Marathon”

  • Nan Harman


    Thank you, Bob, for this wonderful walk down Memory Lane. You made an indelible mark on wheelchair racing on the road and with your colorful and articulate coverage. How I miss those exciting years with racers from all over the world coming together in Torrance and LA to compete, share war stories, and have new adventures, and those journeys beyond in Oita, Japan, Greece and Atlanta for the Paralympics and NYC where our elite bus got stuck enroute to the start. Watching the race coverage here I can still feel the excitement as the racers flew down hills, took sharp corners and sprinted to the finish line.

    Thank you one and all for sharing your talent, friendship and helping to create memories for me for a lifetime. Reed and I are still in Palos Verdes. Gone are the running shoes, but I hit the hiking trails and golf course whenever I can. Be well.

    • Bob Molinatti


      Nan, it was a good ride, at perhaps the peak of the sport and we were there. We met so many good people along the way. Keep enjoying your life and your family. Stay well and thank you again for all you did for so many years.

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