The L.A. Marathon was my 8th full race and I was excited for all of the sights and sounds of the different neighborhoods. We decided to stay near the finish line and take the early morning shuttle to the starting line at Dodger Stadium. The expo was pretty good with your standard stuff. It was sponsored by Asics so most of the gear there was Asics logo. The free shirt was an “almost” green technical shirt which meant that you had to fork out some money if you wanted a shirt that you might actually wear in public and not just for running. For the money, I was hoping for a long sleeve technical shirt of higher quality but realize that it was probably pretty expensive to put on the race.
We arrived at Dodger Stadium very EARLY. I started in corral B which took a really long time to get into because of the crazy number of people who weren’t aware that the race was seeded. I think that some signage above the fences would help people to understand where they were supposed to be who may not speak English. Even with the seeding, there will still a crazy number of people in the corral. The first couple miles of the race were downhill and I was definitely trying to maneuver through people to keep my target pace intact. First mile 8:02 which was mildly disappointing. The first part of the race goes through the city and I have to say that the drummers at the top of the hill during mile 5/6 were one of the best parts. The race continued through Echo Park and down into Hollywood. The support on the course was excellent throughout. After cruising through Beverly Hills and Century City, you go into this weird part around mile 19/20. People were definitely struggling through this area and crowd support was sparse after the cheer leading competition part. Then, we got to Santa Monica where the marine layer kicked back in. The breeze off the ocean was great and the final downhill allowed me to push the pace. The final left turn and you’re almost home. The finish line crowd was loud and raucous and I finally caught the 3:25 pacer at the finish. This pacer was clueless throughout the race and dropped his whole group by going out too fast. He was standing at the finish line waiting to cross. Beware these guys, they can ruin your race.
The finish line was nice. There was lots of stuff and the beer garden was great. Good big city race. Be prepared for lots of traffic as it is L.A. and there are 25,000 other participants.