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What Say You: “Stadium to Sea” LA Marathon 2010:

Do you dream of being a Marathoner? The time is now to buy your (eco friendly) running shoes. LA Roadrunners, the official training program for the LA Marathon starts its 27-week training program on September 12. 2009. Registration online begins September 1, 2009 for both the LA Marathon (www.lamarathon.com) and LA Roadrunners (www.laroadrunners.com).

For the first time in the LA Marathon’s 25 year history the victors, and the anticipated 25,000 other racers, will cross the finish line in Santa Monica, at the sea.

“Stadium to the Sea” is the historically evocative and geographically descriptive title of the 2010 LA Marathon, Dodger Stadium, home of the LA Dodgers, and the site of the historic shame of the Chavez Ravine evictions will be the starting place for the March 21, 2010 Los Angles Marathon.

Along the route, up to 1,000,000 fans will line the streets to cheer on runners as they run past the famed neighborhoods and iconic sites of Los Angeles, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica. The proposed course has runners entering Santa Monica on San Vicente at 26th, turning south on Ocean Avenue to Pico and then continuing south on Barnard to approximately Ocean Park Boulevard. The race will end with celebrations and a festival in the beach lots. The Council has approved allowing the Marathon to come to Santa Monica but the final racecourse is still to be negotiated between the cities and the race organizers.

In keeping with the City commitment to sustainability, the 2010 LA Marathon has announced it will be the world’s first major-city marathon to achieve green certification with the Council for Responsible Sport (ReSport). Bruce Rayner, Chief Green Officer for Athletes for a Fit Planet, worries about “green wash” (the practicing of talking an environmental talk, but not walking an environmental walk) promotes the ReSport certification process establishing standards race organizers and athletes must meet. “I’d like to see the day come when athletes demand that event organizers and the companies that support them are environmentally responsible.”

Green certification will be complete after ReSport officials observe the race day for ridesharing and the use of public transportation, beach cleanup, the use of bio-diesel power generators, compostable paper cups, no plastic goody bags, and recycling throughout the event. Marathon organizers say this will do away with a staggering 50,000 plastic bags and nearly 1,000,000 pieces of paper.

LA Marathon organizers are guaranteeing to pay the full cost of all Santa Monica City services from the day the contract is signed to the taking down of the last barricade on race day and guaranteeing a substantive community outreach effort to establish services and resolve conflicts for businesses and residents along the route. They are also holding out the promise of more than $20 million in revenue to City businesses, over a five-year period, with a focus on hotels and restaurants.

Santa Monica’s own Heal the Bay, Sojourn Shelter and Our Students Run LA (a regional program which includes PAL members) are already part of the official charities program. In past years Marathon runners have raised more than $1.5 million for charities.

Look for this item to be on the Council agenda in early September as the City discusses short and long-term benefits as well as short and long term impacts, while working out the policies and practices needed to participate in the production of an event of this complexity and magnitude.

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