Whether you're a 5k fan looking to add another race to your list, or you're prepping for the follow day's LA Marathon, the LA Big 5k is a fun, casual race that still offers a hilly challenge.
I signed up for this race to complete the Double Dare challenge (5k + Los Angeles Marathon the following day). I signed up online and was able to confirm that I could pick up my bib on race day since I wasn't able to attend the LAM expo on Friday. The race takes place at Dodger's Stadium, and on race morning, I arrived with plenty of time to park, get my bib and shirt, drop my items off back at my car and make it to the starting line. There were plenty of volunteers around to help guide runners through the parking lots, and despite the website warning of possible traffic at the Dodger Stadium gates, I was able to drive right up without any issues. I would suggest entering through the western gates, as I found those to be the least crowded when I arrived. There were also a few food trucks already setting up near the starting line/expo for the runners attending to pick up their bibs, and some were open early enough to start selling coffee and other pre-race treats!
If you've been around Dodger's Stadium, you know that this area is notorious for it's hills, and this course was no exception! Starting in the stadium parking lot, runners run down a large hill out of the parking lot gate on Scott Ave, continuing straight and turning onto Stadium Way. From here, runners meet their first STEEP hill, climbing up to the top of the hill and weaving along a service road. The course levels out here for a bit, bringing racers back onto Stadium Way before turning onto Academy Road and encountering the 2nd of the race's hills. While it's not as steep as the first hill, it's a bit longer. Finally, the course turns down Solano Ave and climbs the last hill of the race before runners return back to the Dodger's Stadium parking lot to the finish line. There were plenty of volunteers out on the course providing water and encouragement along the way! Due to many marathoners running this race for the Double Dare, and due to the number of runners attending the expo following the race, many running clubs and organizations showed up to cheer racers on as well.
All finishers received a tech shirt and medal, and the race organizers were also giving out stickers and Big 5 (the race's sponsor) coupons. I was pretty impressed with the amount of post-race snack and drink amenities that were given out as well, including bananas, multiple granola bars, fruit cups, and more. After the race, I went inside the Dodger Stadium gates to attend the expo (check out my LAM review for more on the expo!)
- If you're not a runner who enjoys hills, or you're recovering from a knee injury, I'd skip this race.
- While I didn't experience any issues getting into Dodger's Stadium, I'd make sure to allow for some extra time in case traffic issues come up. If one particular gate seems crowded, try continuing around to the next gate -- the gates all feed into the same parking area.
- Make sure to watch your step along the service road -- the concrete has buckled up in a couple places and could potentially be a tripping hazard since runners tend to get a bit bunched up around that area.
- Even if you're not running the Marathon, the LAM expo is definitely worth sticking around after the race to check out!
This challenging 5k delivers a fun, easygoing atmosphere while serving as an excellent warm-up for the Marathon, or just a fun 5k around Dodger's Stadium!