Los Angeles Marathon
The history of the race
In 1984, the city of Los Angeles hosted a very successful Olympic Games. Athletes from around the world praised the city for its welcoming atmosphere and the people of Los Angeles were extremely excited to be able to attend sporting events of such global importance. The Olympic stadiums were filled with American fans of athletics and the demand for a marathon in the city increased over the next few years.
Accordingly, 1986 saw the first marathon held in the city. It was exceedingly popular from the outset, with over 10,000 athletes deciding to enter the race. This statistic meant that the marathon was the largest inaugural race in history. The race has become one of the most exciting in the world during recent years and is always popular with athletes of all abilities and levels of experience.
The course is 26.2 miles, or 42.2 kilometres in length. Every year it starts at 8.15 in the morning and the runners are always cheered on by more spectators than any other race in the world can boast. Over one million local inhabitants of the city line the streets to provide support to the brave athletes who are testing the limits of human endurance. The twenty-five thousand athletes can be identified by their names, which are printed on their bibs. This unique feature was introduced in 2003 and adds to the community feel of the Los Angeles Marathon since spectators can cheer on the runners by name.
The 2007 race was famous for its course alterations. It was the first time that the route had headed through Boyle Heights on the East Side of the city before it trailed down towards the finishing line in the downtown area. In September of this year, Frank McCourt signed a deal to acquire the operating rights to the race. Whilst the course is likely to remain unchanged for next year’s race, the date has been moved to the 25th of May, which is also Memorial Day in the United States.
Winners of the race are awarded a Honda Accord V6 car and are given $35,000 for their efforts in the race. Since 2004, elite women have been provided with a head start. The timing of this lead is decided by working out the difference between the men’s course record and the women’s course record. This was established so that the ‘Banco Popular Challenge’ could be contested. The runner who finishes the race first is rewarded with $100,000. In 2004, Russian athlete, Tatyana Pozdnyakova, won the challenge and, in 2006, fellow Russian, Lidiya Grigoryeva, was ultimately triumphant.
The race starts in Hollywood at Universal Studios and the finishing point is located in the downtown area of the city, at the intersection between 5th Street and Flower Street. Runners go past numerous landmarks which have made the city famous and attracted visitors from countries across the globe. These landmarks include the Hollywood Bowl, Sunset Boulevard, the Walk of Fame, the Coliseum and the Convention Centre.
One of the most attractive parts of the race is the section which trails over the 6th Street bridge. This bridge crosses the Los Angeles river and fantastic views of the city are provided. The opening stage of the race is fairly tough, with runners putting up with a relatively steep climb which lasts approximately three kilometres. However, the course as a whole is quite flat and allows for a fairly fast race.
The final few miles before the finishing line go past East Los Angeles and this part of the route has caused some controversy over the years. Opponents to the course have argued that this part of the route does nothing to show off the beauty of the city. They believe that spectators and athletes should not have to run through the more rough areas of Los Angeles. However, supporters of the route believe that the city should be represented accurately to both the public and the global media and it should not be ashamed of its less salubrious parts. This final stage of the race is comparatively difficult as a result of its tough incline.
The Los Angeles Marathon has seen some impressive results over the years. These include the following:
- The first Los Angeles Marathon was won by Ric Sayre in a time of two hours, twelve minutes, and fifty-nine seconds. The first woman to finish the race was American athlete, Nancy Ditz, who finished in a time of two hours, thirty-six minutes, and twenty-seven seconds. She also managed to finish first the following year, beating her previous time by over one minute.
- In 1999, Simon Bor ran the race in a time of just two hours, nine minutes, and twenty-five seconds. The women’s race was also won (by Irina Bogacheva) in a relatively fast time of two hours, thirty minutes, and thirty-two seconds.
- In 2005, Lyubov Denisova set a record by finishing the Los Angeles Marathon in a time of two hours, twenty-six minutes, and eleven seconds. Mark Saina finished first in the men’s race with a time of just two hours, nine minutes, and thirty-five seconds.
- The men’s race this year was won by Laban Moiben from Kenya, who finished in two hours, thirteen minutes, and fifty seconds. The women’s race was won by Tatiana Aryasova from Russia, who finished with an impressive time of two hours, twenty-nine minutes, and nine minutes.
How to enter
The Los Angeles Marathon will be held on the 25th of May next year. You can apply online here. You should enter as soon as possible but registration does not officially close until midnight on the 20th of May next year. Online registration is relatively simple but you may find it easier to register with MyActive and create an online account. You can find details of how to do thhttp://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2008/11/12/x-marks-the-plot-115875-20888450/is by following the link provided above. The race will start at 7.00 in the morning as a concession to the temperatures in May.