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L.A. Marathon: Glendale man runs to raise charitable funds

He says he'll donate proceeds from the event to Blind Children's Center.

March 18, 2012|By Megan O'Neil, megan.oneil@latimes.com

Larry Meyer's marathon pursuits have taken him to some of the most far-flung regions of the world. There was a 20-degree race through snow and ice in Antarctica, and another that had him running across long stretches of the Great Wall of China, up steep slopes and through rural countryside.

“It took me eight hours — I was dying,” Meyer, 64, said of the marathon in China. “There were parts of it where you had to go up goat paths that were just trails. Sometimes there were ropes that you had to hold on to.”

He hits the pavement today for the Los Angeles Marathon. But whether the longtime Glendale resident is lacing up his sneakers on some distant continent or here in Southern California, he never loses sight of what he is running for.

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Each 26.2-mile race he runs is dedicated to raising funds for the Blind Childrens Center in Los Angeles, which provides free comprehensive schooling and social services for visually impaired children.

“It is marvelous,” Meyer said of the center, which is near Los Angeles City College and serves clients from infancy through second grade. “What I love about it is it is small enough [that] if I go out and raise $15,000 by doing a marathon, what I do makes a difference. It is small enough to have an impact.”

Two decades of running has generated about $100,000 in fundraising though donations and pledges from family members, friends and supporters. The more remote the race, the bigger the payback — the Antarctica effort alone generated $15,000.

“He is constantly thinking about the children and how he can help and what he can do to make it better for them and their families,” said the center's executive director, Midge Horton. “He is a wonderful advocate as far as spreading the word about the Blind Childrens Center.”

Meyer's marathon running started in the late 1970s, early on in his career as an attorney specializing in probate, trust and estate planning. And it was nearly cut short a decade later when he suffered a serious spinal cord injury in a car accident.

He underwent surgery in 1989 and started a largely self-directed, years-long rehabilitation process.

“At that time they didn't have physical therapy for that,” Meyer said. “I started bicycling because I couldn't walk a straight line. I had to build my muscles back up again.”

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