LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The Los Angeles Marathon started on Sunday morning with a different route than in previous years, the smallest field since its first run in 1986 and eight months later than usual.
After running the Stadium to the Sea course from Dodger Stadium to near Santa Monica Pier from 2010-2020, the 2021 edition will run on the Stadium to the Stars course starting at Dodger Stadium and then goes up west to Brentwood, where runners return on San Vicente, Sepulveda and Santa Monica Boulevards and end on Avenue of the Stars in Century City.
The change was made because “the dramatically increased cost of running the 2021 marathon and future events reported by the City of Santa Monica made staying in Santa Monica financially impossible,” said the McCourt Foundation, which runs the race in July 2020, as of July announced the change.
“The goal on the Avenue of the Stars also enables exciting modifications that were previously not possible in Santa Monica, such as improved viewer visibility and partying at the finish line,” said the foundation.
The 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 attracted a record of 27,150 participants from all 50 states and a record of 78 nations in 2020, surpassing 20,000 participants for the 21st time in 22 years.
“Our operations team has always planned a reduced field size to run the marathon safely and to ensure adequate social distancing at the start line and on the course,” said Dan Cruz, chief communications officer for the marathon, told City News Service.
One factor behind the decline – far fewer runners from the free marathon training program Students Run LA for high-school students at risk. There are usually several thousand runners from the program in the race.
There will be 70 alumni of the program in the running on Sunday, with Alderman Joe Buscaino, a candidate for Los Angeles mayor, with them.
Despite the decline, the Los Angeles Marathon will again have the fourth largest field of participants among US marathons, an award it presented every year from 2016-19. It had the largest field of participants in the world in 2020 when the marathons in New York, Chicago, Boston and Berlin were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The New York Marathon will also be held on Sunday, its traditional date. The Orange County Marathon will be run as a half marathon on Sunday. It usually takes place in May.
The 1986 Los Angeles Marathon drew 10,787 participants, a number that exceeded each of the next four years and grew to 19,161 in 1990. Records were also set in 1992 and 1997, with the 20,000 mark being exceeded for the first time in 1999.
The McCourt Foundation announced last November that the 2021 Los Angeles Marathon would take place on May 23rd due to the coronavirus pandemic. It announced in March that the race would take place on November 7th.
The Los Angeles Marathon will be held for the first time in autumn. It has been held in March since its first edition in 1986, except in 2009 and 2016.
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