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Cities approve 'Stadium to the Sea' route for L.A. Marathon

Santa Monica joins L.A., Beverly Hills and West Hollywood in signing off on the new route, which will begin at Dodger Stadium and end at the ocean.

July 31, 2009|Martha Groves

Finally, the L.A. Marathon will make it to the Pacific.

The new "Stadium to the Sea" route has received the imprimatur of the cities along the course, ensuring that runners next March 21 will have the point-to-point route they and organizers have favored.

On Tuesday, the Santa Monica City Council approved the plan to end the race at the ocean. Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood had already signed off on the dramatically altered route, which will begin at Dodger Stadium and pass through some of the region's best-known locations.

Although the final 26.2-mile route has not been set, it is expected to wind through West Hollywood and along the Sunset Strip, proceed to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and, ultimately, pass through the Westside along San Vicente Boulevard to the ocean. In past years, runners have loped along a loop route through parts of the city not known for their stunning scenery.

A bonus for elite runners is that the course trends downhill, which suggests that some record times might be in the offing. So that runners aren't marooned at the beach, shuttles or buses will be available to return participants to the stadium.

"We now have the tools to create a world-class marathon of which we all can be proud," said Russ Pillar, president of the Los Angeles Marathon.

The Los Angeles City Council voted last year to move the marathon to Memorial Day, a Monday, after a number of churches along the race route complained that street closures and crowds on the traditional Sunday in March kept parishioners away.

Marathon officials granted concessions to win religious leaders' support for a Sunday race. They will move the start time to 6:55 a.m. from 7:20 a.m. The route change will also ensure that runners don't pass by many churches.

Officials in neighboring cities were practically giddy about the alterations. Santa Monica Mayor Ken Genser applauded the vision of the McCourt Group, which owns the marathon and the Dodgers, "to make this race a celebration of the entire Los Angeles region."

And Beverly Hills Mayor Nancy Krasne said her city was "excited to host athletes and fans . . . and watch 20,000 participants run down Rodeo Drive."

Even if they won't have time to stop and shop.

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martha.groves@latimes.com

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