Monday, December 11

They’re off and running! Chilly morning, big challenge greet LA Marathon’s competitors

A chilly morning — well, by Southern California standards, anyway — greeted an anticipated 16,000-plus participants in Sunday’s 37th Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday at Dodger Stadium, as the iconic L.A. race settled back into its usual March slot on the calendar after two years jolted by the coronavirus pandemic.

That number is considerably down from the 2020 race, which featured a peak of 27,300 runners in the main event. But it’s up from the 12,500 from this past Nov. 7, when strict coronavirus protocols were still in place.

The wheelchair race launched at 6:30 a.m., with the elite women setting out at 6:45.

The elite men and full field took off at 6:56 a.m.

The Charity Challenge 13.1 goes off at 8:15.

Blanca Morales of Van Nuys, tries to stay warm ahead of Sunday’s #LaMarathon. Photo: Brennon Dixson, SCNG

The temperature at Dodger Stadium at the start of the race was about 51 degrees and with cloudy skies, according to the National Weather Service.

When the first runner crosses the finish line at Avenue of the Stars in Century City at approximately 9:10 a.m., the temperature is expected to be 59 degrees and mostly sunny with light wind, Dave Bruno, a weather service meteorologist, told City News Service.

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The 26.2-mile route Sunday rolls through Downtown Los Angeles, Little Tokyo, Hollywood and other areas. When runners get to Brentwood, they double back on San Vicente, Sepulveda and Santa Monica Blvd. on their way to finishing at Avenue of the Stars.

The pandemic will cast its shadow on the race again this year, though the affair is settling back into most of its pre-COVID traditions.

Although masks are still recommended to be worn by spectators, they are not required. Masks will be available at the race. Masks are also recommended to be worn by runners when they are in certain areas, such as the start line, before the race begins.

Whereas either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test was required for runners and staff in November — as well as spectators in secured areas such as the start line — those mandates have been lifted and will not be in effect. However, race director Murphy Reinschreiber said such protocols still exist in inside Dodger Stadium. “It’s actually more the restaurant areas, any of the clubs and restaurants in Dodger Stadium, which we use,” he said. “They’re categorized as restaurants and that regulation, or that guidance, still exists in the city of Los Angeles.”

The field includes 116 runners who have run all 36 previous editions of the race and nearly 2,500 from Students Run LA who were unable to participate in the training program last year because of coronavirus-related restrictions on in-person gatherings, organizers said.

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More than 95% of the SRLA participants who attempt the marathon complete the 26-mile, 385-yard course, according to Cassidy Smith, the marketing and communications associate for the free marathon training program offered at more than 185 public schools in the Greater Los Angeles Area.

More than 95% of the seniors in SRLA graduate from high school with plans to attend college the following fall, 75% of whom are the first in their families to go to college, Smith said.

Malicka Taffa said she was inspired to join SRLA because she didn’t want her heart condition to restrict her from doing everyday activities and was motivated to try something new and different.

“I had always been insecure about running because of my heart condition,” said Malicka, a 16-year-old who attends Venice High School. “I couldn’t be like everyone else because I had to slow down. But this year, I felt an overwhelming urge to put myself out there in the unknown and see how it goes.”

For those not attending the race, Sunday’s main event can be viewed live on KTLA Channel 5.

Race results can be found at

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