- 5 miles/8K, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
- Event Website
This was my first non-Disney marathon, and despite the chilly start and surprisingly challenging new final stretch, my friend and I had an absolute blast and loved how much the energy of the spectators fueled us through to the finish!
The day before the LAM, I ran the LA Big 5k, and then attended the Expo afterward with my friend at Dodger’s Stadium. The Expo was surprisingly packed with tons of booths, pop-ups, and LOTS of freebies – more than I was expecting considering that most races were restricting or canceling in-person expos due to COVID. We spent a lot of time exploring the expo, and we picked up some awesome official merch!
My friend and I signed up for this race when it was previously scheduled for March. I signed up as a make-up to the fact that RunDisney wasn’t running an in-person Marathon Weekend for 2021. While some people were disappointed the LAM shifted from March to November because it messed up their training schedules, we were actually glad it did, as it made for a cooler running climate.
Due to the course finishing across town from the start line, LAM encourages runners to park at the garages near the finish, then reserve a spot on the shuttle buses running to the starting line. This was our first time running this race, so we weren’t entirely sure how this would be organized. Concerned about time management, we opted to select an earlier shuttle time to make sure we had plenty of time in case lines were long, the shuttle was slowed down due to road closures, or any other hurdles.
After waking up at 1am to get ready and be at the pick-up for our 3am pickup, we were surprised to discover that there were hardly any people on board the bus. We arrived at Dodger’s Stadium, to our dismay, a bit TOO early – by about 3 HOURS. At this point, even with our throwaway jackets, it was cold. We tried to warm up inside Dodger’s Stadium, but security told runners were were forbidden from sitting in the stadium seats, meaning that, as thousands of runners arrived to the start, most of us were huddled around corners and sitting on the ground. We later learned that the only way to get access to, well… chairs, was through a prepaid VIP experience. Once 6:15am rolled around, we lined up into our corals outside the stadium, where a DJ was blasting music to kick off the event.
Once the race started, runners spent the first 5ish miles making a loop through downtown before heading northwest on Sunset through Echo Park and Silver Lake. As the course approached mile 9, runners dropped down to run through Hollywood on Hollywood Blvd before returning back to Sunset just before the halfway point. Around mile 15, runners ran south through Beverly Hills on Santa Monica, crossing the finish line chute on the opposite side of the street at about mile 19. Honestly, at this point, the mental challenge of the marathon really kicks in. For the remaining 7 miles, runners make one long out-and-back through Westwood and Brentwood. The final mile may have been the hardest of the whole course, as the last stretch contained a series of deceptive hills leading straight into the finish chute at the Westfield Century City Mall.
On-course support was absolutely stellar! From official LAM volunteers to locals coming out in droves to cheer on runners, this race for me was really made in these moments. One of my favorite moments was running down Hollywood and seeing the Pantages theater decked out in supportive messages from the cast of Hamilton, which was in town on tour.
After the race, after a few happy tears were shed, my friend and I collected our trove of post-run snacks and headed over to the Finish Festival. It was a bit difficult for us to find, as the sheer volume of people and lack of signage made the festival area feel a bit camouflaged from the rest of the area. When we arrived, we walked around the pop-ups, listened to the music, and had our medals engraved before heading home to take a very well-deserved nap!
You’ll feel inclined to select an earlier shuttle time, but DON’T DO IT unless you’re adamant you want to wait a long time before the start time. My advice for this would be to select one of the mid-range times they provide, in the 4:15-30am zone.
Go to Goodwill and grab a sweater for that chilly starting line. You can toss it off at an aid station later on in the course, and it will be collected and donated to a local shelter!
This course has some hills, but it’s not overly hilly. That being said, if you’re the kind of runner who needs some mental preparation, especially in the last leg of the marathon, be warned that a series of small hills awaits you near the final stretch.
Don’t sleep on the Expo! It was the perfect activity to get us hyped for the race, and we picked up a ton of cool free stuff, including energy gels, KT tape, and recovery aids!
Overall, the energy and support of this race earned LAM a place near and dear to my heart – I highly recommend adding it to your marathon bucket list, and I can’t wait to run it again!