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Los Angeles Marathon 2021 gets underway with new course; road closures in effect

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The Los Angeles Marathon got underway Sunday morning, with runners using a different course than in previous years, the smallest field since its inaugural edition in 1986 and eight months later than usual.

After being run on the “Stadium to the Sea” course from Dodger Stadium to near the Santa Monica Pier from 2010-2020, the 2021 edition will run on the “Stadium to the Stars” course which begins at Dodger Stadium, then heads west to Brentwood, where runners will double back on San Vicente, Sepulveda and Santa Monica boulevards, ending at Avenue of the Stars in Century City.

The change was made because “the dramatically increased costs quoted by the city of Santa Monica for the 2021 running of the marathon, and future events, made remaining in Santa Monica financially infeasible,” the McCourt Foundation, which conducts the race, said in July 2020 when it announced the switch.

“The finish on Avenue of the Stars also allows exciting modifications not previously possible in Santa Monica such as enhanced spectator viewing and celebrations at the finish line,” the foundation said.

Organizers expect a field of more than 13,000 runners, from 50 nations, all 50 states and 127 runners who have run all 35 previous editions of the race. The race drew a record 27,150 entrants from all 50 states and a record 78 nations in 2020, the 21st time in 22 years it topped 20,000 entrants.

“Our operations team has always been planning for a reduced field size in order to safely host the marathon and provide for adequate social distancing at the start line and on the course,” Dan Cruz, the marathon’s head

of communications, told City News Service.

One factor in the drop — far fewer runners from the Students Run LA free marathon training program for at-risk middle school and high school students. There are usually several thousand runners from the program in the race.
There will be 70 graduates of the program in Sunday’s race, with City Councilman Joe Buscaino, a candidate for mayor of Los Angeles, running with them.

Despite the drop, the Los Angeles Marathon will again have the fourth-largest field among U.S. marathons, a distinction it held each year from 2016-19. It had the world’s largest field in 2020, when the New York, Chicago, Boston and Berlin marathons were all canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The New York Marathon is also being run Sunday, its traditional date. The Orange County Marathon is being run as a half-marathon Sunday. It is customarily held in May.

The 1986 Los Angeles Marathon drew 10,787 entrants, a figure topped each of the next four years, growing to 19,161 in 1990. Records were also set 1992 and 1997, with the 20,000-mark surpassed for the first time in 1999.

The McCourt Foundation announced last November that the 2021 Los Angeles Marathon would be held May 23 because of the coronavirus pandemic. It announced in March the race would be held Nov. 7.

The Los Angeles Marathon is being run in the fall for the first time. It has been held in March since its inaugural edition in 1986 except for 2009 and 2016.

Copyright © 2021 by City News Service, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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