Hermosa Beach plaza hosts TV treadmill marathon

Photo by Robb Fulcher

Hermosa resident Daniel Tosh, star of the TV show Tosh.0, held a starter’s pistol in his right hand as he looked over a sun-splashed Pier Plaza, where 70 contestants stood among rows of rented exercise treadmills, ready to run a marathon in place.

Under the eyes of numerous TV cameras, including two on ladders and one on the end of a crane, the comedian held the gun aloft.

“On your marks! Get set! Pick your weight and the appropriate setting for your ability,” he anticlimactically instructed.

The race was soon under way. Most contestants wore standard running gear, but one young man wore a panda costume, a woman strolled atop her treadmill in a long dress and high heels, and two U.S. Marines wore full gear with backpacks and toted prop rifles.

Between the Marines trotted a man in Middle Eastern dress, who was introduced by Tosh as “a person of interest.”

Near the back, a handful of contestants pumped away on elliptical workout machines, a wheelchair and a rowing machine. One young man jiggled in the caress of a vibrating belt, like the ones on vintage TV ads.

Photo by Olivia Keston

Tosh, speaking from a stage in front of the contestants and a large crowd of onlookers, described the marathon as a “five hour bit that will air for three minutes” Tuesday, July 19 on his program on the Comedy Central network.

A banner above his head advertised the event as a “$150,000 Marathon,” which did not refer to prize money, but to the show’s costs in staging the event. Those costs included $20,000 in promotion fees to the City of Hermosa Beach, over and above the fees that covered the city’s cost to provide police and other services.

“When we started out we never spent more than $50 on a bit,” Tosh told the crowd.

Not one to loaf while his fans trotted along before him, Tosh stripped down to short red shorts and a sleeveless T-shirt, and stepped up to a treadmill on the stage. Noting that he had never run a marathon and had not trained, he hopped aboard, played with the settings and was soon flying along at sprinting speed.

He jumped off the belt and left it running on its way toward 26.2 miles, explaining to the crowd, “That’s the pace I would keep up.”

Daniel Tosh makes last-minute preparations. Photo by Olivia Keston

The contestants had applied for the marathon through the TV show’s website, and Tosh promoted the event with a tweet:

“come down to the hermosa pier on fri, 11am for my marathon. u don’t have to run to enjoy the free entertainment, music, food, prizes.”

Tosh.0, which typically shoots in Culver City, focuses on current videos that draw mega-hits on the Internet. In a segment called “web redemption,” Tosh interviews people who make high-profile pratfalls or find some other way to look foolish on YouTube, and then he lets them repeat whatever they did on the video, and get it right this time.

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