The last stretch of the Los Angeles Marathon next year is planned to take runners through the beachside City of Santa Monica, capping a race past some of Los Angeles’ most identifiable attractions with a route along the ocean.

For the 25th anniversary of the 26.2-mile Los Angeles Marathon, race organizers have envisioned a new race dubbed “The Stadium to the Sea” that would have the thousands of participants go through a host of iconic locations along the way.

The plan is to have the race begin at Dodger Stadium, proceed to Hollywood, down the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, on to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, through West Los Angeles and into Santa Monica. Runners would travel approximately three miles through Santa Monica, going down San Vicente Boulevard toward the ocean and ending at or near the beach. The exact details of the route, including the precise finish line, have yet to be finalized, but race organizers say that the marathon scheduled Sunday, March 21st will be designed to highlight the region’s iconic attractions.

“We think this is a route that will really inspire the runners. Whether you are from Los Angeles or another city, this is a course you would want to run,” LA Marathon creative director Peter Abraham said. “The route is beautiful; it’s going through these international icons. We think the energy on this course is going to be fantastic.”

Abraham explained that creating an inspiring route for the Los Angeles event has been “priority number one” for race organizers. He said the course design will be particularly pleasing for participants because it will be traversing downhill for the final section, allowing for faster times, and taking runners toward the beach, where it is cooler and more picturesque.

“Many of the great running races in the world finish in a beautiful area,” said Abraham, referring to the New York Marathon’s completion in Central Park.

“We will be able to reach deeper into the community than the marathon has ever been before. We’re really excited about it.”

Organizers note that the interest for the Stadium to the Sea route has taken off, with cities along the course, including Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, offering their support. Santa Monica was the latest city to back the event after the City Council voted July 28th to direct staff to modify city law to allow for marathons and half marathons to be held in the community. The city’s current community events law allows for only 5 and 10K races to be contested within city limits.

The council also directed staff to amend the event policy for the south beach lot, where post race events are planned.

Staff have said that the LA Marathon presents a unique opportunity for Santa Monica to be part of a world-class race, which would provide economic benefits from festivities associated with the race and attract extensive media coverage. The council also addressed the proposal for the Santa Monica Half-Marathon scheduled only three weeks prior on February 28th, 2010, and the police and fire department chiefs discussed concerns related to working the two events.

Police Chief Tim Jackman told the council that there are parking issues regarding the marathon runners and spectators and he was concerned about safety issues with the half marathon route on Pacific Coast Highway, but said the department supports the marathon in the city.

“We think we can support this event and make sure that it’s done safely and appropriately from the police perspective,” Jackman said.

City Councilman Richard Bloom said he is “extraordinarily enthusiastic” about the city taking part in the marathon and half marathon, events which promote fitness and one’s goal to excel.

“They really in many ways speak to the core of what Santa Monica is all about,” Bloom said.

Race supporters hailed the city’s approval of hosting a portion of the popular athletic competition. Bill Lockton, a Santa Monica resident and marathon runner, recalled when part of the marathon in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics came through Santa Monica and said that same experience could be repeated next year.

“What an iconic event that was and what an iconic event we could replicate by allowing the marathon to go those three miles down San Vicente to the ocean,” Lockton told the council.

Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce President Laurel Rosen added that the event will provide a major economic benefit to local businesses that are currently suffering.

Abraham said that with the marathon’s 25th anniversary and the new stadium to sea course, more than 20,000 participants are expected and anticipation from runners is already booming, including those from previous years.

“We want the community to embrace this event in a way they never have before,” he said.

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