Sunday, February 11, 2007

L.A. Marathon 2007 Study Guide

I was hoping to walk the entire route this weekend, but haven't been able to do it. However, I did drive through it and made mile-by-mile notes of the course.
Some new maps in PDF format were posted on the official site of the L.A. Marathon:

L.A. Marathon 2007 Detailed Map
L.A. Marathon 2007 Major Roads Map
L.A. Marathon 2007 Refreshments and Entertainment Map

Here's a quick view of the detailed map.

Most marathons end approximately where they started so any uphills are offset by the downhills, but this is the first time that a point-to-point course will be used in Los Angeles so is it mostly uphill or downhill? Here's a closer look at the elevation profile. Click on the image to see a larger version.

The biggest hill is right at the beginning, but those bumps at the end will probably cause the most problems.

It may look daunting, that's why it is best to break down a marathon into smaller chunks. Some people say that it is simply a 10 kilometer race--with a 20 mile warm up. let's break it down mile-by-mile. Click on the thumbnails to see the details or better yet, download the PDF files.

There will be water stations at every mile except mile 26 and Gatoraid (Endurance Formula) every odd numbered mile except for miles 1 and 25.
Start to Mile 1

Mile 1 - Lots of L.A. Marathon banners on the light posts line both sides of Cahuenga Blvd. at the start line. Ironically, there is a large Nissan dealer at the start--this marathon is being sponsored by Honda. The start takes you east so watch out for the sun. Right off there is a gentle uphill that gets steeper as it goes through the Cahuenga Pass. The steepest part is around Universal Studios Blvd, about 3/4 mile into the course.
Mile 2             Mile 3             Mile 4             Mile 5

Mile 2 - The uphill climb continues until reaching the crest about 400 yards past Barham Blvd. Only 1.4 miles in and the roller coaster ride begins with a big downhill through the next few miles.

Mile 3 - The road is wide at this point with gentle curves. It would be wise to remember to find the tangents and take the shortest possible path. At about 2.5 miles, next to the Hollywood Bowl, the downhill ride begins to level off.

Mile 4 - Still downhill, but not as severe, Cahuenga changes into Highland and the first turn of the course is a left onto Hollywood Blvd. It is easy to spot the turn by dinosaur at the Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum at the corner. Watch out for the crown on the road, best stay near the middle of Hollywood Blvd. It is mostly flat until hitting another downhill at Ivar. Use the downhill to start looking for the right turn on Vine.

Mile 5 - Straight and a gentle downhill with a few more severe downhills, a good drop happens just before Fountain.
Mile 6             Mile 7             Mile 8             Mile 9

Mile 6 - Gentle curves and downhills give way to gentle rolling slopes. Slight uphill before Beverly.

Mile 7 - Downhill just before the left turn on 6th Street. The scenery turns into a nice residential area around Hancock Park.

Mile 8 - Starts off with a downhill and gentle curves that turn uphill around Wilton. Don't worry too much at the hill coming up after Western, the course turns right on Harvard before reaching that incline. Watch for the Cafe Sweetie for the turn.

Mile 9 - A gentle downhill turns uphill after James M. Wood with the crest at San Marino Street then downhill to the left turn at Olympic. Once on Olympic there is the first clear view of downtown Los Angeles
Mile 10            Mile 11            Mile 12            Mile 13

Mile 10 - Start of a gentle uphill and curves around Vermont. Slightly steeper climb before the right turn on Hoover then more rolling hills.

Mile 11 - Right on Pico, left on Vermont, right on Venice where there is a school with a nice track on the right and a cemetery on the left.

Mile 12 - Turn left at the end of the cemetery, you'll see the freeway up ahead and begin a steep downhill to Washington Blvd. The course continues through the freeway underpass.

Mile 13 - Flat or barely perceptible downhill.
Mile 14            Mile 15            Mile 16            Mile 17

Mile 14 - Left on 39th which is the signal after Exposition Blvd. Enters a mixed residential, apartments, area then on through the middle of Exposition Park.

Mile 15 - The road here is closed to traffic and runs around the Coliseum to the right. Continue out of the park and under the freeway. Right on Main, left onto Martin Luther King Blvd.
Mile 16 - Sharp left going left onto Central (it looks like you're heading into a dead end) followed by another sharp left onto Jefferson. Keep it tight to the left to keep from adding unnecessary extra distance.

Mile 17 - It stays flat through most of downtown. This is a warehouse/industrial area, not pretty. Right on Broadway and it will start looking more like downtown with the big building up ahead.
Mile 18            Mile 19            Mile 20            Mile 21

Mile 18 - Left on Adams, there is a Wells Fargo Bank there. Under the freeway then right on Figueroa--you'll see the church with the big dome at the corner.

Mile 19 - It is still flat or at most a very slight uphill as the course continues under freeways and past Staples Center.

Mile 20 - Right on 11th, which is going against a one-way street, crossing the tracks for the Metro. Left on San Pedro.

Mile 21 - Now deep into downtown, right on 9th street. Watch out, it is a bit confusing because there is a small street also called 9th just before the "real" 9th which turns into Olympic.
Mile 22            Mile 23            Mile 24            Mile 25

Mile 22 - Freeway underpass followed by a bridge over the river and rail yard. The climb over the bridge isn't too bad but it will hurt!

Mile 23 - Uphill to a left on Boyle and continue uphill crossing over the freeways until around 7th street. Left on Whittier, all uphill.

Mile 24 - Another bridge and a very nice view of downtown L.A. with a good downhill off the bridge.

Mile 25 - Right on Central and a left on 3rd, the Buddist Temple. Left on Los Angeles Street--all flat.
Mile 26 to Finish

Mile 26 - Right on 7th where it begins to go uphill. Right on Flower, wrong way for traffic, and continue uphill through the canyons of buildings to the finish line. The uphills don't look too bad, but we'll see how they feel at the end of the marathon!