OCEAN AVENUE — A new finish line has emerged for the L.A. Marathon in 2010.
Responding to the request of the City Council that an ending point in Santa Monica be considered for the 26.2 mile race, marathon officials have reportedly began exploring the intersection of Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard as a possible candidate after proposing in July to finish the race in Venice just steps from the city border.
Deputy City Manager Elaine Polachek, who has been working with marathon officials, said the current proposal is to direct runners after the race to Seaside Terrace, which they will take down to Ocean Front Walk before making their way to the 1550 Parking Lot adjacent to the Santa Monica Pier. The after-race festivities will take place in the parking lot.
“It’s a beautiful route and ties both sides of the city together,” she said.
The race is scheduled for March 21 and will commence at Dodger Stadium, making its way by various Los Angeles area landmarks, passing through West Hollywood and Beverly Hills before arriving in Santa Monica.
Peter Abraham, the creative director of the L.A. Marathon, said the Ocean and Santa Monica proposal is one of several options that are currently being considered.
There are several factors that go into finding a location for the finish line, including the space that’s needed for the runners to grab a drink, food and even a quick massage following the conclusion of the race, he said.
“Wherever it ends up, we need to make sure we have space for runners to get their stuff after they finish,” Abraham said. “The logistics determine where you end up finishing.”
Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, who bought the 24-year-old marathon late last year, told the council in July that he envisioned producing a world-class event that goes from “the stadium to the sea and through and around the iconic places within this great region.”
It was then when marathon officials proposed a final leg that would go west on San Vicente Boulevard, heading south on Ocean Avenue to Barnard Way and concluding just beyond the border in Venice, holding the post-race party at the south beach lot in Santa Monica.
Organizers returned shortly after the meeting with the new proposal, Polachek said.
“I think this will keep runners more engaged and will open up a whole new part of the city to the marathon,” she said.
The marathon issue is expected to return to the council on Sept. 22 when officials will consider establishing a route segment.
The 1550 lot has hosted numerous large events in the past, including Ashes & Snow, a nomadic photographic exhibit that occupied the space from January to May 2006, and Cavalia, an equestrian show. Cirque du Soleil will return to the lot this fall with its new show, Kooza.
“The reason (the proposal) works well in addition to tying in the pier and having it as a backdrop for the end of the race is that the 1550 lot has already been identified by the City Council as an area for commercial events,” Polachek said. “This essentially allows us to work with the marathon and establishes a license agreement for the use of the lot.”
The route proposed for Santa Monica is appropriate considering that portions of it, specifically San Vicente Boulevard and Ocean Avenue, are part of the training ground for groups like the L.A. Leggers and L.A. Roadrunners, Abraham said.
“Those areas are in a way the running capital of Los Angeles,” he said.