When an estimated 25,000 runners hit the pavement early Sunday in the 25th Los Angeles Marathon, they will pass many of L.A.'s signature landscapes in a new "Stadium to Sea" route.
Beginning at Dodger Stadium, runners will wind their way through downtown, pass through West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica and end at the Pacific Ocean. Along the 26.2-mile course, runners will pass such landmarks as City Hall, the Capitol Records Tower, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Sunset Strip, Rodeo Drive and the Santa Monica Pier.
The new route is more scenic than those of years past, when runners often looped through the city and finished the race downtown. The redesigned course is part of an effort to make the race a "destination marathon" and was initiated after Dodgers owner Frank McCourt purchased the marathon last year.
This year the event is sponsored by Honda and K-Swiss
The new course will probably be faster than past routes, because it heads downhill, losing 400 feet in elevation from start to finish. Runners will also experience cooler temperatures as they leave the warmer L.A. Basin and draw closer to the seaside finish line.
Each runner has ponied up a $125 entry fee, and organizers say this year's marathon is sold out at 25,000 contestants. Last year, marathon organizers said, attendance lagged by almost 5,000 when the Los Angeles City Council made the unpopular decision to hold the event on Memorial Day.
The council had voted to move the marathon to Memorial Day after a series of churches along the race route complained that the event had a significant effect on Sunday worship.