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Under New Management, Marathon Returning to Old Route

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, February 24, 2009, at 10:54PM
LA Marathon Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Runners in the 2007 LA Marathon begin to cross the 6th Street Bridge as they head into Downtown.

While City officials praised the point-to-point route adopted for the Los Angeles Marathon in 2007, it appears that race officials weren't as sold. For this year's race, set for Memorial Day weekend, new operator LA Marathon LLC is returning to the circuit course last used in 2006. Once again the race will begin and end Downtown.

The new route, which began at Universal City and wound through East L.A. before ending up in the Financial District, was chosen at the request of City Council. The races, traditionally held on a Sunday, caused an outcry from churches inside the circuit.

The 2007 version of the race took runners through new territory. Much was made of the Marathon's first appearance in Boyle Heights, and its trek across the 1931 6th Street Bridge. Councilman Tom LaBonge, widely credited with the new route, praised the way it showed off Los Angeles' diverse neighborhoods.

At the same time, though, the new route left the city holding an $800,000 bill for increased staffing needed to handle the increased number of crossings in the new route.

This year the race will take place on a Monday, offering a respite for houses of worship once again encircled. Even so, it will still require a substantial outreach effort. A presentation at Metro's Operations Committee last week estimated that the transit operator will have to put out 2,000 detour notices. 50 Vehicle Operations Supervisors will be put in the field to handle the rerouted service.

With the historic 6th Street Bridge approaching its oncoming doom, it's a shame that the span won't get just a few more dates with the camera. Despite the price tag, the structure did provide a great point for the runners to greet Downtown.

2009 Marathon information is available on the race web site.

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