Latest reviews by Erica Golden
This was my first full marathon, and it was a great experience! I will be running the race again in 2023. Prior to this, I’d witnessed/cheered LA in 2019 (with some visits in 2020 and 2021), and San Francisco in 2021. LA does a great job of showing up and supporting their runners (San Francisco, where were you???), especially towards the end where the thirty-something local run clubs set up their cheer squads. I’ve never eaten so many red vines in one day!
As a first time marathoner, training for a local race was ideal because many of my practice runs were actually route preview runs. For a somewhat beginner/slower runner, that was a big confidence booster for me.
Prior to 2021, the marathon route ended in Santa Monica at the beach. The route now instead doubles back and ends at the Century City Mall. Although compared to the sweeping coastline, the mall is nothing to write home about (unless you aren’t from LA and want to squeeze in some couture shopping!), but I actually liked having the route double back on itself because I was able to see so many faster friends running the opposite direction, a few who stopped to take selfies with me.
It’s easy to be jaded by the new finish line, but I can imagine that for many, seeing Dodger’s Stadium, the Capitol Records building, Pantages Theatre, Disney Hall, and Rodeo Drive, in addition to many other attractions, are still quite the thrill.
As a DTLA resident, it was very convenient to take the shuttle from Union Station to the race start at Dodger’s Stadium. Getting home from the race was much easier when the race ended in Santa Monica (Expo line accessible). I was able to get a ride home with my friend’s mom this year, but I honestly don’t know how I would have otherwise gotten home.
After the race, there were a few options for free medal engraving. I went to the Volvo/LA Marathon pop-up in downtown, and took advantage of the photo-ops in front of their wall sized map of the marathon route.
As I mentioned before, I will be running this race again. Would recommend!
Although this race hasn’t returned to its pre-pandemic routine quite yet, this is a great race put on (primarily) for locals, by locals. I’m keeping my fingers crossed it’ll return in 2023 in its full glory. It’s infamous for its crazy medals and t-shirt designs, based on the animal for that year’s lunar year. The 2020 race (4718 Chinese New Year - also listed on the medal) was the “Year of the Rat,” but they also sell t-shirts for prior races at a reduced rate. I got a Year of the Monkey shirt for $5, and it’s actually one of my favorite, most comfortable t-shirts!
There are a lot of hills. There’s no getting around that. If you’re averse to a hilly challenge, stay home. Otherwise, you can come and complain with the rest of us, and then share a beer and some chow mein (or lo mein?) and dance with the drums and dragons, and take advantage of the photo-ops. Chinese New Year is a big deal in Chinatown, and it’s great to partake in this small part of the festivities. I loved my rat medal and accompanying fortune cookie. No joke, the fortune that came with my cookie said “Quit wearing yourself out.”
This was my second 5K, and it was a blast. It’s a 5k/10K event (plus bike race the day before), so rating the “Expo” doesn’t entirely feel appropriate, but the festivities before and after the race surpass any of the other shorter in-person races I have attended (minus the big marathons that host 5Ks the day before).
I walked to the race and back, and also, the day before for bib pick-up (same location), but you can take the Goldline light rail system just a few blocks from the start. If you can get to Union Station in DTLA, it’ll be easy to get from there to the race.
People were super disappointed in 2022 when the race switched last minute from “in-person” to “virtual” (because of a so-called uptick in COVID cases). People were finally getting more comfortable with doing things outdoors (race bib pick-up for this event has always been outdoors). I think a lot of the angst was because The Pasadena Half Marathon was shortly afterwards, and it remained in-person. But as a friend pointed out, this race is put on by volunteers, and The Pasadena Half is related to the LA Marathon and the Dodgers (don’t quote me on that last part), and has a full time staff. It’s not a fair comparison.
I’ll be back in 2023 if it’s in-person.