Home Career LA Marathon 2023: Thousands take to the streets for the annual marathon

LA Marathon 2023: Thousands take to the streets for the annual marathon


More than 20,000 participants took to the streets early Sunday for the 38th annual Los Angeles Marathon, undaunted by cloudy skies and freezing temperatures.

The marathon started at Dodger Stadium, with the wheelchair participants starting at 6:30am, followed by the elite runners at 6:45am, the elite men at 6:55am and the full field at 7am

“It’s so exciting,” said Mayor Karen Bass, who attended the start of the marathon. “This is an international event. Everyone is coming together to celebrate Los Angeles.”

The 26.2-mile course takes in some of the city’s most iconic neighborhoods, including Chinatown, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Century City. Much of the route includes large stretches of Sunset, Hollywood and Santa Monica boulevards.

Most participants in the marathon, which attracts people from all over the world, expected three to five hours to complete the course. But elite runners usually finish the race in just over two hours.

Around 7:30 a.m., dozens gathered outside the Walt Disney Concert Hall along First Street in downtown Los Angeles to cheer on the throngs of runners as the sun peeked through the clouds.

It was a festive scene with a group of about 20 people beating taiko drums on the sidewalks to support the runners. Some rang bells, others waved signs of support: “Let’s go, mom!”, “Angela, now you can have fun, enjoy life!” “We believe in you!”

Lauren Mousavi, who came with her 3-year-old golden poodle, Rocko, anxiously checked her phone to find where her three friends were running the marathon. But it was not easy to find them, because every minute hundreds of participants ran by.

But Mousavi, who was holding a stick with a large American flag, could not be missed. She jumped for joy and hugged her friends as they passed by. The three stopped to take a selfie with her in front of the concert hall.

“Ain’t nobody fresher than my clique – Cyn, Cin, Val,” Mousavi’s pink sign proclaimed. Two of her friends, Cynthia and Valerie, were among her bridesmaids, she said.

Mousavi said she and her friends often go hiking together and that they are all very active, and Valerie did a 400-mile bike ride last July. Mousavi said she plans to run the Los Angeles Marathon herself next year.

“I get so much excitement, energy and motivation from it,” she said. Running “pushes you to the limit, which I love. It’s never easy, and I love it.”

Roxana Fuentes, a 35-year-old certified nursing assistant from Boyle Heights, held up a sign of encouragement to her 13-year-old son: “Go Miguel.” Fuenter was wearing a purple T-shirt with her and Miguel at the 30K Friendship Run in Hansen Dam.

This is Miguel’s first full marathon, Fuentes said. For the past few months, he’s been going to Whittier Narrows Park every Sunday to run about ten miles as part of his Student Run LA group. He runs 22 miles a week, Fuentes said.

“He says running makes him feel so great, so free,” she said. “I had a lot of anxiety, but I was always a big fan of my mom. I never tell my kids not to do that. Let’s just do it!”

Mariam Smith, who lives near Annapolis, Md., said she flew across the country Friday to see her 25-year-old son Ronan O’Shea run his first marathon in Los Angeles.

Although this is O’Shay’s fourth marathon, he expects to run at a pace of two hours and 20 minutes, Smith said. Smith said she traveled to support O’Shea when he ran marathons in Sacramento and Chicago.

Smith, who does not run, said she thought O’Shea was crazy when he first talked about running a marathon, even though his father was an elite sprinter in Ireland. O’Shea runs 18 miles a day to train, Smith said.

But she said she quickly fell in love watching her son run marathons.

“Now I have to cheer my mom on,” Smith said, pumping her fists as O’Shay took the mound. “I scream his name as loud as I can.”

In Beverly Hills, Kim Desautel said she was the first spectator to come out to support the runners at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Crescent Drive in Beverly Hills. This is the second year she has come out to show her support.

“It’s really inspiring,” said a corporate travel executive who lives nearby.

Desotel is a runner herself, but has never run a marathon. She hopes to change that next year and trains every week.

While it is up to 20 miles.

As she waited for the elite runners to cross the roughly 17-mile mark, the wheelchair cyclists raced past.

“Wow!!! It looks good!” Desotel shouted to one in encouragement.

Catherine Young tries to make it to the marathon every year. She said she came out to support the runners because she understands what they are going through.

Young, a 58-year-old resident of Beverly Hills, has run the marathon six times. The last time was over 10 years ago, but she hasn’t taken since because of back and knee problems.

She is grateful for the times she did. She said it showed her parts of Los Angeles she’d never visited before and made her feel like part of a larger community.

It also taught her courage. She said that after several back surgeries after a car accident, she even regained the strength to run a marathon again.

“My husband thought I was crazy, but I said, ‘Trust me, the body has muscle memory.’ So he dropped me off and I ran.

“I’m almost 59 – you go through a lot,” she said. “It (marathons) taught me step by step, just step by step.”

As the runners streamed through the intersection of Crescent Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard shortly before 9 a.m., Young stood on the corner clapping and yelling at them.

“Wow! Come on!” she yelled before turning to the reporter. “I’m getting chills.”

During the day, it will be mostly cloudy, the air temperature will warm up to 65 degrees, according to the Hydrometeorological Center. The race will be televised on KTLA-TV Channel 5 and live on the LA Marathon’s Facebook page.

The trek to the coast will mean dozens of street closures along the way. Much of downtown and Century City will be effectively closed to cars during the race. In addition, several freeway ramps the northbound lanes of the southbound 110, 101 and 405 freeways will be closed.

Streets will be reopened as runners stream through the area to the finish line. For example, downtown streets must be open until 10 a.m., and in Hollywood until noon. Near the finish line in Century City, portions of Santa Monica Boulevard, Century Park East and the Alley of Stars will remain closed until 8 p.m.

The Los Angeles Marathon, which began in 1986, was a run from downtown to the coast in Santa Monica, but in 2021 organizers unveiled a new Stadium to the Stars course where runners turned around before reaching Santa Monica , and returned to Santa Monica Boulevard in Century City instead.

The winner of the men’s and women’s races are offered $6,000. A $2,500 prize will also go to the winner of the wheelchair category.

Last year, John Korir of Kenya won the men’s division in 2:09:07. Kenya’s Devlin Meringore won the women’s division in 2:25:03.

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