I LOVE LA (MARATHON)…
This Sunday myself and 24,999 other runners will line up for the 30th Anniversary Los Angeles Marathon.
Say what you will about the “City of Angels”: stupid bad traffic, crazy real estate prices, the insanity that is the “biz”, earthquakes, smog, etc…
But when it comes to putting on a marathon, singer Randy Newman got it right. “I love LA!”
And yes, they do play Randy Newman’s anthem at the start of the LA Marathon.
This will be the sixth time I’ve run the LA Marathon (2009, 2010, 2012-2015)… and it is the half/full marathon I’ve completed more than any other.
For one reason, it’s my hometown marathon. That alone is reason enough.
But more importantly, it’s just a great race.
Now the race itself has had some overhauls and hiccups in years past.
In fact my first time running it (in 2009), it featured the older route which basically was a downtown loop course through some forgettable (and sometimes sketchy) neighborhoods. It also had the scheduling snafu (changed dates twice) and ended up being run on Memorial Day (a Monday). The less said about that, the better.
But in 2010, the Los Angeles Marathon was transformed into the shining race that it is today. All courtesy of a bit of a douche-nozzle.
Frank McCourt, the one time owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers (and who really helped put the team in dire straights for a while) also bought the rights to the Los Angeles Marathon and re-imagined its course as a “stadium to the sea” route.
The race would now start at Dodger Stadium, winding through historical parts of LA and ending at the Pacific Ocean.
Instead of going through areas that made you wonder if you should have pepper spray on your fuel belt, the new marathon course went past great landmarks like:
- Echo Park
- Disney Hall
- Los Feliz
- The Walk of Fame
- Grauman’s Chinese Theater
- The Sunset Strip
- Santa Monica Blvd.
- Rodeo Blvd.
- And winding up by the Santa Monica Pier.
Check out the map:
And did I mention that it’s overall a “downhill” course.
I always feel that a “big city” marathon should capture the heart and feel of that particular city. New York does it, as does Boston and Chicago (and a few others). And now Los Angeles has one it can be proud of as well.
Also, the weather is usually fantastic. I say “usually” because in 2011 (the one year I didn’t run LA) the entire race was held during a torrential downpour. And last year, it did get really hot (the “sauna marathon” as we refer to it). But more often than not, the weather for the race is nice and sunny.
Check out the forecast leading up to the race this year:
Looks like we might be dealing with another real hot one this year. Here’s hoping things cool off a bit before Sunday.
And whereas LA is known for having a sports fan base that isn’t as fanatical as some other major cities, the crowds do come out for the LA Marathon. You can expect to see people cheering, waving, cow-belling and holding up signs from step number “one” all the way through step number “I can’t count that high.”
For me personally, the LA Marathon also is the culmination of six months of team building and fundraising. It’s the race I run each year with Team To End AIDS, my charity running group. By the time the gun goes off on race day, my friends/family/peers have helped me raise over $1000 that goes directly to helping people in LA whose lives are impacted by HIV/AIDS. That’ll put some extra lift in your step.
Even though I may be out on the course in my own little space, I know that 75 members of my running family are nearby pounding the pavement as well… which gives me strength and makes me smile. And when we go by the T2 cheer section (around mile 15) we all get rockstar treatment. Not too shabby indeed.
So, as I prepare for the LA Marathon on Sunday, my mood is upbeat and getting “upbeatier” with each passing moment.
I’ve got a solid race strategy, that if things go well I should hopefully PR. But of course we all know how the best laid plans of mice and men can turn out.
Regardless of my finishing time, however, this is going to be a great race and one helluva way to spend a Sunday morning.
Yup, it’s safe to say. I love LA!