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This Sunday, March 20 an estimated 30,000 runners will take part in the 26th annual Honda Los Angeles Marathon where they will run past iconic landmarks at practically every mile. By now, runners have put in long, arduous miles in training, fought through injury and are in taper mode as they await the big race.
For the second year in a row, the marathon will start at Dodger Stadium and make its 26.2-mile way to Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica. Runners will pass through Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and the Veterans Administration property in West Los Angeles before finishing steps from the Santa Monica Pier.
As grueling as running a marathon is, some local runners (there are 125 Hancock Park residents already signed up) are using the event as a chance to benefit others. Hancock Park resident Matthew Thompson, an associate at Goldman, Sachs & Co., is raising money for the U.S. Vets Initiative, an organization that shelters and provides job-skills training for homeless veterans.
“I served on four combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and it breaks my heart to know that veterans are sleeping on the streets they fought to defend, so I’m raising money for an organization that’s doing something to fix the problem,” Thompson said.
Fellow Hancock Park runner Danny Dangoor, a pastry chef at La Siene on La Cienega Boulevard, is dedicating his run to his mother who passed away from breast cancer.
“She got breast cancer two years ago and she went through a lot of pain all on her own,” Dangoor said. “After seeing my mom go through such a hard race to survive, I decided to run in her honor. I hate running but sometimes there are things we must do even though we do not like doing them. The marathon, to me represents the long, painful journey my mom went through. When I get to those tough miles and want to quit, I just try and remember my mom’s courage to keep going when she was in a painful situation. It’s a great reminder to run this marathon once a year to remember where I came from.”
Running on behalf of the Concern Foundation for Cancer Research, an official charity of the L.A. Marathon, are runners from Club Culinaire, a non-profit organization of chefs, pastry chefs, bakers, cooks, wine stewards, restaurant owners and purveyors specializing in fine cuisine. The club is hoping to raise $5,000 for Concern. Club Culinaire runners include former Hotel Sofitel chef and general manager Sebastien Pfeiffer, who just relocated to the Sofitel in Chicago, and Kora Kroep, club executive director, who will be running her first marathon.
“I think I can do it,” Kroep said. “Some members of our organization have been struck by cancer, some survived, some didn’t, and they’re like family. As a non-profit we should have at least one cause that does something for our community.”
Concern’s ‘Team Marathon’ will be hosting a post-race fundraiser at La Cachette Bistro in Santa Monica where chef/owner Jean Francois Meteigner has crafted a special cocktail called “26 Miles of Concern” made with vodka, fresh rhubarb purée and organic jasmine liquor served in a Martini glass that will sell for $20 with all proceeds going to Concern.
Concern is looking for mile 16 Cheer Zone volunteers to come out and support runners from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the corner of Rodeo Drive and Little Santa Monica in Beverly Hills. People are encouraged to ring cowbells, make signs and pass out water. To sign up call (310)360-6100.
The Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research is also seeking volunteers for its mile 21 Purple People Cheer Party at San Vicente Boulevard at Bringham Avenue from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. All volunteers are asked to wear purple and bring encouraging signs. The foundation will supply balloons and pom-poms, and prizes will be awarded for the Best Encouragement Sign, Best Dressed Purple Person and the Biggest Volunteer Group. To register visit www.HirshbergTrainingTeam.com.
“The Hirshberg Foundation complements the Honda L.A. Marathon by supporting its runners while bringing awareness about pancreatic cancer to thousands,” said Lisa Manheim, executive director for the Hirshberg Foundation. “Just by coming out and cheering with us, volunteers can really make a difference in the fight against pancreatic cancer.”
This year runners will enter West Hollywood at Sunset Boulevard and Havenhurst Drive on the city’s eastside and head west on Sunset Boulevard passing by several landmarks including the Sunset Tower and legendary music venues the Whisky A Go-Go and the Viper Room. Runners will then turn left onto San Vicente Boulevard and right onto Santa Monica Boulevard, past the Troubadour, before exiting West Hollywood at Doheny Drive where they will enter Beverly Hills.
“We are pleased to once again welcome the Honda Los Angeles Marathon to the City of West Hollywood,” West Hollywood Mayor John Heilman said. “The route will lead the runners down the legendary Sunset Strip and past some of the City’s most memorable landmarks, before heading to the equally historic Santa Monica Boulevard. As an avid marathon runner myself, it is particularly exciting to have West Hollywood be such an integral part of the second annual Stadium to the Sea route.
Of the 120 West Hollywood runners registered for the marathon, the youngest is 23-year-old Megan Marlow, a member of the L.A. Roadrunners, and the oldest is 65-year-old Roadrunner Cagle Moore.
West Hollywood city officials running include marathon veterans Allyne Winderman, Director of Rent Stabilization and Housing, and city manager Paul Arevalo.
Running her nineteenth marathon, Winderman is looking forward to running past the West Hollywood cheerleaders.
“I just love running marathons,” Winderman said. “This new course is beautiful and fun. We’re aiming for a world class marathon.”
Arevalo admits he “lost track” as to how many marathons he has run, but believes it’s around 30.
“The new course is fantastic,” Arevalo said. “The fact that they changed the course and you can see some of the city’s highlights is wonderful. I hope people are out and in a good mood.”
Runners wishing to register for Sunday’s marathon can only do so in-person Friday and Saturday at the L.A. Marathon Expo at Dodger Stadium.
“We’re looking at a similarly-sized field as in last year’s race,” said L.A. Marathon LLC chief operating officer Nick Curl. “We’ll have about 1,000 spots available for registration at this week’s expo on a first-come, first-served basis.”
The expo will take place at Dodger Stadium on Friday and Saturday with free admission and free parking. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. There will be live entertainment and more than 100 fitness and running exhibitors showcasing the latest products and technologies.
Sunday’s marathon starts at 6:55 a.m. for wheelchairs, 7 a.m. for hand cycles and 7:25 a.m. for all other participants. Various streets along the course will be closed by 3:15 a.m. on March 20, then reopen as early as 10:15 a.m., depending on the location. Streets will reopen by region because of the size and complexity of the event route.
Local area streets affected by the marathon include: Hollywood Boulevard, Gower Street, Vine Street and Cahuenga Boulevard which will be closed from 3:55 a.m. to 11:24 a.m., and Highland Avenue, Orange Drive, Sunset Boulevard, La Brea and Fairfax Avenues, Laurel Canyon Boulevard, Doheny Drive, 3rd Street, Burton Way and Santa Monica Boulevard which will all see some closures between 4:05 a.m. and 12:12 p.m.
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) will enforce a restricted, no-parking policy on marathon day. This will include the citing and impounding of vehicles parked on temporarily restricted, no-parking streets. Vehicles illegally parked will be towed to the official police garage (OPG) servicing those respective areas. The Department of Transportation is advising motorists to call LADOT at 1-866-TOWAWAY or check the OPG Web site at www.opglaviic.com to locate and redeem vehicles. Detailed course maps and event information are available on the Internet at www.LAmarathon.com or www.trafficinfo.lacity.org.
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