L.A. Marathon unites Angelinos

In its 19th edition, the L.A. Marathon will take place Sunday at 8:30 a.m. where a multitude of local citizens will unite to run for glory or just for fun.

Inspired by the success of the 1984 Olympic games, city officials decided to launch the L.A. Marathon. To this day, more than 300,000 runners have participated in the event, making it the largest attended event in the United States and the fourth largest in the world.

2004 L.A. Marathon course

The course will take runners through various communities in the Los Angeles area, including Koreatown, the Crenshaw District and downtown L.A., among others. Runners will not encounter any hills throughout the race, except for some mild upgrades.

Traditions and new features

Despite its long history, the marathon remains fresh with the addition of new features. This year, the feature added to the race is what organizers are calling “The Challenge.”

“The Challenge” allows the elite female runners a 20-minute head start, after which the male runners attempt to beat them to the finish line.

Also new to the race are the bibs that will now have the runners’ name on them rather than just their number. The L.A. marathon was the first in the United States to allow participants to display their names on the bibs to runners registered during December.

“It’s good to see runners with their names on the bibs,” Erin Fisher, president of the Rotaract Club said.

“It motivates the runners when you call out their names instead of a number,” he said.

Runners prize purse

For the first place winner, there will be a $25,000 prize along with a new 2004 Honda Accord. Second place and third place will receive $15,000 and $11,000 respectively.

Volunteering opportunities

The marathon not only draws a large number of people who want to run, but volunteers from all over the city are attracted by the event just to offer some support.

“What some people don’t know is that by volunteering, money can be raised for great causes,” Fisher said. “We are raising money for a project to eradicate polio worldwide as we volunteer at the marathon.”

Volunteers have played a vital role throughout the history of the race, whether stuffing goodie bags or staffing water stations, they are always present.

It is estimated that 12,000 volunteers show up each year to help with the marathon.

“So many people get involved,” Fisher said, “It’s good to see that individuals can get together for a common goal.”

“The marathon is a race for the people,” cross country and track coach, Dean Lofgren said. “All that is needed is the desire to run.”

“It’s just nice to go out and support the people that are running,” Yanet Martinez, 20, said.

“It’s fun because it’s a chance to work together with other people.”

Just the Facts:

General Information

* Race registration fee is $80

* Must register at the Emerald Nuts Quality of Life Exposition at the Convention Center

* No race day registration

* Race times:
Wheelchair start at 8:05 a.m.
Elite woman at 8:12 a.m.
Runners/ walkers at 8:30 a.m.

* Review volunteer opportunities at www.doitsports.com/volunteer