Los Angeles ranks among the top US cities in terms of image, size, and desirability as a vacation destination. However, when it comes to great US marathons, the Los Angeles Marathon has not really made the list in a while. But with a new title sponsor, ambitious plans and a new director, the race is poised to take its place as one of the great big-city marathons in the world. Here are some of the reasons why you should participate in the Los Angeles Marathon.
The youngest of the big-city marathons, LA, began in 1986. The race has had growing pains before with the ownership changing several times, the course seeing at least five different routes, once even being postponed to May. However, runners can now count on Russell’s experience, successfully directing the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, the largest 10K in the world with 60,000 participants. Also, it is possible to plan it since it is held mid-winter and the current course has been in place since 2010 with no plans towards changing it.
Start in Dodger Stadium
The first thing that you will probably experience is a unique start venue: the Dodger Stadium. Race director extraordinaire of the Boston marathon (and several other events across the country) Dave McGillivray ran the Los Angeles Marathon and after the race was reported saying that he loved how there was seating arranged for everyone and that he was mesmerised by the size of the crowd at the start.
Finish at the Beach
After running for twenty-six miles, the finish line comes up one block from the beach with the famed Santa Monica Pier to the right. Legacy runner Arlene Fichman who has competed in and completed all thirty-one editions of the marathon and, in addition, run New York and Boston, considers it one of the best parts of the course.
Hollywood Boulevard, Rodeo Drive, Santa Monica Boulevard, almost every street you will be running on is in a song or a movie. Some cities have so many cultural references that they often surprise the runners and pile up on one another as they run through the famed locales.
Overall Downhill Course
This is not exactly true per se: there definitely are a few ups on the fourth and fifth mile and a slight grade at mile twenty, but the overall course of the run stoops downhill, ending about four hundred feet lower than the start. Big drops can be experienced in the first two miles, during the fourteenth mile and, much to the runners’ comfort, from the twenty-third mile to the finish. Not surprisingly, however, the race finishes at sea level.
Unlike other marathons where you need to register several months in advance and still be put on waiting lists, you can get into marathons almost up to the start.