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Mar. 14, 2012
An LA Marathon Course Preview from the Clif Bar Pace Team - UPDATED for 2013
If you’re running the ASICS LA Marathon this coming weekend, you’re in for an amazing tour of this city. However, a race of this magnitude – 20,000 people – requires that you be prepared for the challenges of a large, marquee event. Read on to learn about what you’ll see and how to handle this beautiful course.

CLIF Pace Team 2 LA Marathon

The new “Stadium to the Sea” course does a lot of things right including placing the majority of its hills during the first six miles. However, don’t be deceived; this is not a flat course. You’ll encounter rolling hills and “undulations” throughout the course, but the trickiest and nastiest of your hills will be served up while you’re still fresh.

On race morning the energy will be electric at Dodger Stadium – and you want to be able to enjoy it. As with any race, allow ample time to arrive, drop your bag at gear check, use the porta-potties and make your way to the actual starting line. Once you’ve calculated how much time you’ll need, add another half hour to it. The last thing you want on race morning is added stress.

You MUST be at the start, in place and ready to go at the scheduled 7:24am time – but don’t be thrown off your game if it takes a few extra minutes to get moving! Cool your heels, sit down on the pavement to rest your legs, and make some conversation with the runners around you. Stay calm and save your energy for the race.

Leaving Dodger Stadium can be a bit tricky. Prepare yourself for some winding, some weaving and some crowds – and watch out for narrow lanes and traffic cones. Your first mile out of Dodger Stadium is uphill and it’s important stay relaxed. It’s all too easy to get stressed out by the environment and the crowds. A relaxed and slower first mile is much easier to fix later in the race than a fast, stress-driven mile that sends your heart and your adrenaline skyrocketing before you’ve even seen the first mile marker. Something else to think about: your next mile and a half are a long, gradual downhill, giving you plenty of time to relax while gradually picking up the pace.

CLIF Pace Team 1 LA Marathon

The first six miles of the course take you through LA’s Chinatown section (including the Chinatown Dragon Gate) and El Pueblo de Los Angeles State Park. Tuck in behind your pace leader and relax into your race through these early miles – your first big challenge is right ahead.

During mile 3, you’ll begin heading up a very long, steep hill to the Disney Concert Hall. Once you finish the climb, you’ll be treated to an amazing view of LA, as well as the gorgeous architecture of the Hall itself. But be warned: the climb, topping out right around mile 4, is serious business. Our fastest pace groups will remain pretty steadily. The 4:15 through 5:30 groups will reduce their pace to keep you comfortable and still mobile after the climb. If you need to handle this hill differently than your pace group, by all means, do! We’ll all reconnect soon after at a water stop or on the more forgiving portions of the course; the most important thing is that you run your race according to how YOUR body needs to.

After the Disney Concert Hall, you’ll head through some more of downtown LA and past Los Angeles City Hall, then head into Little Tokyo just a mile later. Mile six will find you heading into Echo Park, a gorgeous area with a beautiful lake off to your right. Take a look and enjoy the view; the next four miles will wind through some older LA neighborhoods. The course will flatten out a bit here after the early hills, but the scenery won’t be quite as exciting again until...

Mile 10! Not only are you in double digits now, but you’ll be able to see the famous “Hollywood” sign straight ahead (weather permitting), and you’ll be heading into Hollywood itself! From miles 10 through 12, keep your eyes wide open as you run past an assortment of Hollywood icons: the Pantages Theater, the Capital Records Tower, Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Kodak Theater and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. If you’re stopping to take pictures, remember to move to the left or right side of the street!

From Hollywood itself, you’ll head into West Hollywood, passing the half marathon mark and the famed Chateau Marmont. Mile 14 will drop you off on the Sunset Strip, where you’ll get up close and personal with old and new celebrity hangouts like Whiskey A Go Go, the Troubador and the House of Blues. Remember, the course is relatively tame through here, with no serious climbs to be concerned with. Just hang tight with your pace group and keep an eye out for the palm trees … and the palm tree lined streets of Beverly Hills.

By mile 15, you’re in Beverly Hills, taking a one mile tour of the gorgeous wide streets leading you to what might be the most magical mile of the course: Rodeo Drive! Make sure you’re watching out for runners around you even as you gawk at the windows as you run by – Cartier! Versace! Chanel!
Miles 17 and 18 present the last couple of up-hills on the course, as you cruise through some of the trendy areas surrounding Beverly Hills. From there, miles 19 and 20 are a bit difficult, with not as much scenery as the previous miles. Remember to store up the energy you get from Beverly Hills to carry you through, and lean on your pace leader and the runners around you to stay strong until that milestone mile 20.

Just before the Mile 20 water station will be your opportunity to grab a CLIF SHOT Energy Gel. Miles 20 and 21 are just a bit uphill, but offer beautiful scenery as a distraction. As you pass the VA Medical Center, you’ll go under a bridge with some gorgeous and creative murals; you’ll pass through a lush park setting as you head to mile 22 and the upscale, pretty neighborhoods that line San Vincente Boulevard. You’ll be struggling here for sure, so take a few moments to take in the beautiful architecture of the homes. Soon enough you’ll be at mile 23 (only 5K to go!), entering Brentwood and slowly picking up speed as you head downhill. As the palm trees reappear, you’ll be able to start seeing the ocean to your right as you run through Palisades Park.

The last three miles are all downhill and, while you don’t want to pound on your quads at this point, you CAN relax just a little bit and let the road carry you down to the ocean. Absorb the beauty of the park and the day, try to seek out the sounds of the ocean, and congratulate yourself on all you’ve done to get here.

It’s mile 25! You’re now running along the ocean towards the finish line at the Santa Monica Pier! It seems so far away – it always does – but the closer you get, the more your pace picks up, and before you know it, you’ve arrived! At last, you’re at the FINISH LINE at Ocean Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard! With the famous Ferris wheel in the background and the cheers of spectators all around you, it’s a finish – and an experience – that you’ll never forget.

Now get that medal around your neck and wear it proudly – you’ve just FINISHED the ASICS LA Marathon!
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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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