On March 21, the date of this year’s Los Angeles Marathon, Santa Monica’s 18th Street Arts Center will have a running (and walking) team of local artists, not to mention a cheering section of artists, puppets, and bananas. Yes, bananas–for a potassium boost and a lot of fun.
As event organizer Nicole Gordillo of 18th Street explained to the Mirror, the plan is to raise funds while allowing Santa Monica to be more involved than in the past. “What’s exciting is that this year’s LA Marathon has a new route. It begins at Dodger Stadium and ends at the ocean. It passes iconic locations along the way and the finish line is at Santa Monica Pier, which is 18th Street’s ‘back yard.’ ”
Last year, said Gordillo, a “very small” team of 18th Street staff and friends participated in the Marathon, raising over $6000 in one month.
“This year we have stepped it up a notch. We’ve decided with the approval from the folks over at the Marathon headquarters that we are going to be putting together a relay team of about 60-plus artists, board members, friends, to participate in the course. What that means is that you can run or walk, for a block or five miles, and pass the baton (whatever that may be—I’m sure it will be something very artistic) to the next runner.”
Participants gain sponsorships from friends and family. A person can sign up at 18th Street’s donor fundraising page (see below) and then receive a personal page, where photos and bio information can be uploaded. This page can be emailed to friends to persuade them to donate.
Gordillo also noted that the Marathon has given 18th Street the opportunity to develop an “entertainment center” for the Marathon. “They will have certain sections at each mile that cheer on the people who are running. In Santa Monica, we thought it would be perfect to have, probably, a station at San Vicente and 7th between mile markers 24 and 25.” The cheering section, besides giving less mobile people a chance to view and participate, is tentatively scheduled to feature a Brazilian drum band and large papier-mache puppet heads created by an 18th Street resident artist, Michelle Bern. “In addition, they want each section to offer refreshments for energy, so we’re thinking– a truckload of bananas.
“At future marathons, we’ll be able to be at the same location, so as people become familiar with this new course, they’ll expect to come across something really fun and exciting at the 18th Street cheering zone.”
Following the Marathon, on Tuesday, March 23, 18th Street will hold a post-Marathon party for participants at the Library Alehouse, 2911 Main Street, with a portion of the cost of all food and drink donated to the Marathon.
“We don’t mind if you can’t donate money or if you can’t run,” said Gordillo. “If you just want to come out and cheer people on, that’s fine.”
For more information, go to 18th street.org
Mirror Contributing Writerlynne@smmirror.com