Scott Hambly, Firefighter, is stationed at Fire Station 37 in Westwood with the Los Angeles Fire Department. He has been on the job for 11 years. He is also an elite runner, roughly a 2:18 marathoner who is currently preparing for the 2017 Skechers Performance L.A. Marathon. He could potentially finish in the top 10 or top 15.
Scott has run in more than 30 full marathons and this time around he will be raising funds for the Widows & Orphans firefighters’ charity. Scott works three days a week and his work day begins at 6:30 a.m. so he’s up at 2:50 a.m. He runs for two hours before work and says he typically runs from Brentwood into Venice. After work he runs more on a treadmill at the station. “It’s commitment but it’s neat because it doesn’t affect the family since they’re sleeping. On my off-duty days is when I really do the workouts,” Scott says.
He feels safe when he’s out running when most people are still asleep because he has lived in dangerous parts of the world, like Guatemala for a couple of years, and he basically trusts people. “I’ve never had any issues, minus a couple close calls with cars. During the time that I run in the mornings there’s no one around and it’s quiet and peaceful. It’s dark and if you add music to that, it’s a ballgame.”
Scott says running feels so good to him that it’s hard not to do every day. “If I can’t run, then I surf. I love to surf and I’ve surfed my whole life and that feels just as good. On a day-to-day basis, it just feels amazing to run whether it’s fast or slow or I just go to explore, it just feels so good. That’s why I do it every day.”
Scott started running at age seven. “Kind of my whole life I’ve just run. It’s just this weird thing my dad taught me, but not competitive running until after college. I saved my body by not competing in college.”
He played volleyball in college and comes from a volleyball family, but Scott says he became really interested in running competitively while at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His roommates were in cross-country and happened to be ranked numbers one and two in the country. “They would have me run with them and we all figured it out together that wow, maybe I could be a distance runner.”
During the California International Marathon in Sacramento in December of 2015, Scott needed a qualifying time of 2:18 to qualify for the Olympic Trials which were to be held a few months later in Los Angeles, but at mile six he tore his upper hamstring right off the bone. “I had to walk and watch all my friends run in the Olympic Trials…it’s a tough sport for sure.” Scott says he has very high hopes to get himself in the next Olympic Trials where the qualifying time for men is sub 2 hours 18 minutes.
He’s run in so many marathons, but the Boston Marathon is at the top of the list. “It is really a tough one because at the elite level when all the best runners in the country are there, it’s hard to place well, but it is my favorite marathon.”
His favorite race is the Santa Barbara Endurance Race, a 100-miler up in the mountains of Los Padres National Forest. Another race he does well at and really likes is the 69-mile Pack Bone Trail Race in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Scott says he trains the best he can and he’s learned not to get sucked into how well he’s going to perform and he tries to just enjoy the moment. He shares that advice now that he’s become the cross-country coach at Thousand Oaks High School. “A large majority of it is technique and proper running. It’s also just paying attention to your body and not listening to anyone else but yourself. There’s also stretching and rolling and all that stuff. You just really pay attention to what your body is telling you.”
Scott says his cross-country team is really supportive of him and it’s definitely mutual. “It wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of them showed up and supported the Widows & Orphans cause. I have a real soft heart for people who are grieving and have lost someone, and for people in a different situation than mine. Running provides me the opportunity to give back to them or to make them feel a little better. Hopefully, by raising money for them, that makes their lives a little easier during a difficult time.”
As a member of the L.A. Fire team, Scott appreciates and looks forward to the camaraderie and fundraising to help raise money for people in need, “This creates a good feeling. If you could feel that every day, that’s pretty special.”
-Denise Schlegel, Freelance Writer