What to know about the Los Angeles Marathon | Inquirer

What to know about the Los Angeles Marathon

The 39th LA Marathon, which coincides with St. Patrick's Day, has drawn runners from all over the US and 70 nations
/ 01:25 AM March 17, 2024

LA Marathon runners

The race has drawn runners from all 50 states and 70 nations. Image: Los Angeles Marathon/Facebook

LOS ANGELES – Sunday’s 39th Los Angeles Marathon has drawn the second-largest field in its history, reaching its capacity of 26,000 Friday, trailing only the 2020 race, which had 27,150 entrants, organizers said.

The 2023 race had 22,000 entrants, the largest field since 2020. The race has topped 20,000 entrants 22 of the past 25 years, with the only exceptions coming in 2009, when the race was run on Memorial Day for the lone time, 2021, when it was delayed until November because of restrictions prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, and 2022 when it returned to its traditional March date.

Dan Cruz, the marathon’s head of communications, attributed the rising fields to the popularity of social running clubs throughout Greater Los Angeles and the participation of the disc jockey and music producer Diplo in last year’s race.

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According to Cruz, 40 percent of the field will be running their first marathon while 56 percent have not run the Los Angeles Marathon before.

The race has drawn runners from all 50 states and 70 nations, three more than last year, Cruz said.

The runners range in age from 12-year-old seventh-graders running as part of the Students Run LA program to 87 year-old Claude Bruni, a retired auto repair shop owner.


The 26-mile, 385-yard race will begin at Dodger Stadium at 6:30 a.m. with the wheelchair racers. The hand crank racers will start at 6:35 a.m. The women’s elite field will start at 6:43 a.m. and the elite men’s field at 7 a.m.

Mayor Karen Bass will be the honorary starter.

LA Marathon runners

The runners range in age from 12-year-old seventh-graders running as part of the Students Run LA program to 87-year-old Claude Bruni, a retired auto repair shop owner. Image: Los Angeles Marathon/Facebook

It will be around 49 degrees, with marine layer clouds and wind from the northeast blowing at five to 10 miles per hour at Dodger Stadium for the start of the race, National Weather Service meteorologist Kristan Lund told City News Service.


From Dodger Stadium, runners will head through downtown Los Angeles, Echo Park, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood and Brentwood then back through Westwood to Century City, with the finish line for the “Stadium to the Stars” course on Santa Monica Boulevard between Avenue of the Stars and Century Park East.

The course is unchanged from 2023, the first time since 2020 the course has not changed, Cruz said.

Joan Benoit Samuelson, the winner of the inaugural Olympic women’s marathon during the 1984 Los Angeles Games, will hold the finish line tape.

When the first runner crosses the finish line shortly after 9 a.m. it will be around 55-57 degrees, Lund said.

The temperatures will be in the 50s when most of the runners are on the course, Lund said.

The elite women will start 17 minutes ahead of the elite men for the Marathon Chase, with the overall first finisher receiving a $10,000 bonus. The time difference was “determined by a close assessment of the makeup of this year’s professional fields,” according to veteran running analyst Toni Reavis, who has been a commentator on each Los Angeles Marathon telecast.

The difference was initially going to be 17 minutes, 15 seconds, but adjusted after Belay Asefa Bedada of Ethiopia, who had the fastest personal best time among the men’s field, had to withdraw after contacting typhoid.

The chase was part of the marathon from 2004 to 2014, with women winning seven times and men four. It was discontinued in 2015 when the race served as the USA Marathon Championships. It was revived in 2022 with women winning both times since its revival.

The men’s and women’s winners will each receive $6,000, the second-place finishers $2,500 and third-place finishers $1,500. The men’s and women’s wheelchair winners will each receive $2,500.

The men’s race has been won by a Kenyan 21 times since 1999, with Ethiopians winning the other four, including 2023 when Jemal Yimer won. Yimer opted to run in Sunday’s Seoul Marathon instead of defending his title. A U.S. runner last won in 1994.

African women have won 11 of the last 14 races, including in 2023 when Kenyan Stacy Ndiwa won in a personal best two hours, 31 minutes. Ndiwa will defend her title.

A U.S. runner last won the women’s race in 1994.

The field includes 95 legacy runners — 84 men and 11 women — who have run all 38 previous editions of the race. Golden Stars will be placed along the course in their honor as a precursor to the Los Angeles Marathon Hall of Fame.

The late Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge will also be honored during Sunday’s race. A uniquely designed Golden Star was presented to his family during Saturday’s news conference and the race’s Mile 7 has been renamed as the Tom LaBonge Mile.

Mile 7 begins on Glendale Boulevard, just before Santa Ynez Street, in Echo Park, includes the Angelus Church, and ends on Sunset Boulevard, just before Silver Lake Boulevard.

There will be more than 3,500 runners from Students Run LA, an after-school mentoring and physical fitness program for at-risk middle and high school students.

The race has 92 charity partners, with runners raising more than $3 million.

Its premier charities are:
— Angel City Pit Bulls, which is dedicated to creating a better future for pit bulls through education, public advocacy, adoptions and owner support;
— Students Run LA;
— Team TMF, the fundraising team for the McCourt Foundation, which describes its mission as striving to cure neurological diseases while empowering communities to build a healthier world. The foundation operates the race; and
— Team World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development and advocacy activities seeking to tackle the causes of poverty and injustice in nearly 100 nations.

The Neighborhood Nip Foundation, is a first-time featured charity. All funds raised will support the reconstruction of the Nipsey Hussle Plaza in Hyde Park, which will be the site of the foundation’s headquarters. The foundation plans to begin youth programming this year.

Empowering Leadership in Latina Athletes which seeks to empower and support young Latinas to become leaders of tomorrow through sports and academic excellence is another first-time featured charity. It was founded by Lilly Travieso, a Cornell University infielder from Burbank and Alemany High School, and her mother Patty.

Other featured charities are:
— The American Cancer Society;
— American Foundation for Suicide Prevention;
— Beit T’Shuvah, a Jewish, faith-based recovery center which focuses on the spiritual healing of add
— Children’s Hospital Los Angeles;
— Kitten Rescue, which rescues cats and kittens from the streets of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Animal Services shelters;
— North Valley Caring Services, a North Hills-based community center which offers free academic and enrichment programs for children ages 5 to 18; operates a drive-through food pantry; conducts a thrice-weekly shower and breakfast program; provides a place to park overnighter for people living in their cars; provides approximately 5,000 meals a month to families experiencing homelessness living in motels and the streets in the Northeast San Fernando Valley; conducts classes in English as a Second Language, parenting classes and how to start a business;
— Students Off And Running (SOAR), which provides no-cost Los Angeles Marathon training to hundreds of children in need living in the Santa Clarita Valley; and
— the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation. (CNS)

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TAGS: charity, Los Angeles, marathon, sports
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