For the second consecutive year, Santa Monica will host the final three miles of the Los Angeles Marathon as part of the revamped “Stadium to the Sea” course Sunday, March 20.
The 2011 Honda Los Angeles Marathon will take participants from Dodger Stadium past a number of regional attractions and landmarks before finishing along the coast at Ocean and California avenues in Santa Monica. Last year’s 26.2-mile race marked the debut of the new course.
The marathon is scheduled to begin with competitors going off in waves starting at 6:55 a.m. for wheelchairs, 7 a.m. for hand cycles and 7:25 a.m. for all other participants.
Race organizers said that the race is on pace to sell out for the second straight year. Runners still wishing to register will have one more chance to get into the March 20 race, but only through in-person registration Friday and Saturday, March 18 and 19 at the L.A. Marathon Expo. The Expo will take place at Dodger Stadium from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. March 18 and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 19, with free admission and free parking.
After starting at Dodger Stadium, the marathon moves through Chinatown, downtown Los Angeles, Little Tokyo, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, the Veterans Administration property in West Los Angeles and into Santa Monica, just blocks from the historic Santa Monica Pier.
“We believe this marathon course gives runners a unique opportunity to experience the best of Los Angeles,” Los Angeles Marathon Chief Operating Officer Nick Curl said, noting some additions to this year’s route. “With the addition of Chinatown and Little Tokyo, the Stadium to the Sea course will show runners even more of what makes Los Angeles so great.”
Santa Monica city officials have welcomed the distinction of being the final destination in the popular race.
“Santa Monica is thrilled to be the world-class finish line for the LA Marathon. There is no better place to be inspired,” Mayor Richard Bloom said.
The finish line has been moved this year to Ocean and California avenues, near the California Incline, to give the competitors more recovery space. The reunion area for family and friends will be on Main Street across from City Hall, just south of Colorado Avenue.
Participants will enter the Santa Monica city limits on San Vicente Boulevard at Mile 23, continue down San Vicente and then turn south onto Ocean Avenue. The Santa Monica Fire and Police departments said they are working closely again this year with local and regional partners to ensure a safe, secure, and fun marathon experience for participants, spectators and those who live and work in the city of Santa Monica.
Approximately 28,000 runners will participate in the marathon and thousands of spectators are anticipated to cheer them on, race organizers said. Officials are advising residents that some street closures will be in effect in Santa Monica and throughout Los Angeles on the day of the event.
Santa Monica’s marathon website, www.smgov.net/lamarathon, provides information about the event, with maps, transportation routes and other helpful tips.
Officials note that parking on the day of the event is likely to be challenging, and residents and visitors can use the site, www.smgov.net/parkingspacenow, to find available spots. Special event parking rates will be in effect.
Visitors are also encouraged to ride their bicycles to see the event, with free city-operated secure Bike Valet parking at City Hall, 1685 Main St.; and on Broadway just east of Ocean Avenue. Valets will be open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.