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Friday, February 29, 2008

Marathon enthusiasm sandbagged by unpopular route

Joseph Mailander a guy in laelsewhereemail

Even though enrollment is high, the enthusiasm for LA's twenty-second Marathon this Sunday is not quite the same as it has been through its history. Reason: the de-volution of the course.

The course used to dart for long, healthy doses along some of LA's prime boulevards. Now it commences in a big downhill cascade down Cahuenga (good for elite runners, bad for the shinsplint set) and keeps cutting corners until it ends up in the Flower Street DMZ immediately east of the Bonaventure.

Here's why the course has such a silly route: big churches kept complaining. Now the course is routed to cross grand streets rather than along them, and to bypass the churches that worry about Sunday tithes brought about by closures. The course hits more nondescript neighborhoods than ever, and virtually switchbacks through downtown in an effort to add length safely.

This is this particular course's second year. "It's not fun to run," a doctor told me. "We used to get some people who were really enthusiastic at the churches and along the good boulevards; now we don't see those people. I don't know any runners who actually like this course."

If you don't know the course, check this .pdf. Marathon/wheelchair course in blue.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said:

actually, the course starts going downhill on Cahuenga because they wanted to include the Valley. Tom Lebonge felt that there was no love for the Valley year after year, when the marathon is supposed to be a showcase for the city.

February 29, 2008 1:08 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I would have the marathon run through the housing projects in East L.A and South Central L.A. The elite runners would run fast as hell to get out of the gang infested areas. Maybe include a run by the bus-stop where 8 people were recently shot, so Jan Perry also gets some Marathon love.

And if any Washington bureaucrats are watching they will see why Jan Perry is now calling gangs, urban terrorists and asking for federal funds for homeland (south central) security.

February 29, 2008 3:37 PM  

Blogger LAFD Media and Public Relations said:

Joseph,

I *believe* that this is actually Marathon XXIII and not 22... though the Official LAMarathon.com site seems to be using last year's banner graphic. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Keep up the great work on line, in what always amounts to an enjoyable read.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Firefighter/Specialist
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

February 29, 2008 5:27 PM  

Blogger Joseph Mailander said:

Thank you PSO Humphrey---I believe you are right, as I remember my perch for the first marathon well, and that was 1986. I was on the 49th floor of what we used to call the Crocker Center.

Speaking of firefighting, wasn't that the same week that the Library burned?

February 29, 2008 9:46 PM  

Blogger LAFD Media and Public Relations said:

Mr. Mailander,

Sorry for the delayed reply. With LAFD's primary Marathon commitment ebbing at this hour, we are very pleased to say that there was no loss of life or life-threatening illness or injury to the 73 participants we treated (23 of whom were taken to area hospitals by LAFD ambulance).

The Los Angeles Central Library Fire took place on April 29, 1986 and remains a landmark blaze in America's Fire Service history. I'll have to check my archive to determine the fire's relationship to that year's Marathon.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Firefighter/Specialist
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

March 02, 2008 4:41 PM  

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