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A new look for L.A. Marathon

Officials hope the race's new 'Stadium to Sea' route will be

November 09, 2009|Baxter Holmes

When Dodgers owner Frank McCourt bought the Los Angeles Marathon last year, he gave management a new goal: Create a route that shows off the best of Los Angeles. That new "Stadium to Sea" route will be unveiled today, and it will start -- where else? -- at Dodger Stadium.

The 25th edition of the race, on March 21, will wind through downtown, pass through West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica and end at the beach.

Along the 26.2 miles, runners will pass landmarks including City Hall, the Capitol Records Building, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Sunset Strip, Rodeo Drive and the Santa Monica Pier.

"Listen: 26.2 miles is a long way to go on foot," said Russ Pillar, president of the L.A. Marathon. "The easiest way for us to do that is for us to pick a route that inspires."

"Everybody's really stoked," said Steve Mackel, 47, a marathon coach from Pasadena who plans to run in the event. "I've never heard people be that excited about a new course as they have about this new L.A. course."

The new route is more scenic than in the past, when it often looped through the city and ended downtown. More recently the marathon began at Universal Studios and ended at the Central Library at 5th and Flower streets.

Those routes didn't qualify the L.A. competition as a "destination marathon," said Mackel, who has participated in the last six races.

Various cities along the route will throw themed block parties, culminating in a beach party at the finish line in Santa Monica. Officials hope to attract 25,000 runners.

The route is also expected to be a faster course because it heads downhill, losing 400 feet in elevation from start to finish. It will also begin in warmer L.A. Basin temperatures and end at the cooler beach.

"And," Pillar said, "running from downtown to the beach is one of the happiest directions you could point a runner."

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baxter.holmes@latimes.com

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