Opinion
Get Opinion in your inbox -- sign up for our weekly newsletter
Opinion Editorial

L.A. Marathon-ageddon: Bring it on

Each year, the city of Los Angeles clears a path through traffic-choked streets from east to west for a marathon that in March drew 24,000 runners. Now, a coalition of civic, business and political leaders wants to add another race on the same weekend in March 2016: the U.S. Olympic marathon trials. The city has put in a bid, and on Sunday a delegation from USA Track and Field, the national governing body, will come to Los Angeles to evaluate it as a site.

If the city's bid is successful, the trials will be held here to determine which U.S. marathoners go to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Yes, that means back-to-back marathons. As a plan, it's ambitious, unpredictable — Marathon-ageddon? — and kind of exciting. We think USA Track and Field should go for it and Angelenos should put aside their fear of traffic for one weekend.

The cities that host the trials traditionally run them the day before their local marathons, so that's not unusual. They are two very different events. The L.A. Marathon will probably have 20,000-plus competitors running from Dodger Stadium to the Pacific Ocean, some straggling to the finish line hours after the winners. The Olympic trials would be held on a closed loop course in neighborhoods not affected by the L.A. Marathon, and would include a few hundred world-class runners who would all finish within minutes of one another. Men's and women's trials might run the same course with staggered start times. The appeal of holding the trials the day before the local marathon is that the city would be full of running enthusiasts, many of whom would presumably go to watch the trials.

So, sure, there would be more traffic. But it is worth the inconvenience. It would cost taxpayers nothing. The funds are privately raised, and the economic boon to businesses could be substantial. Officials estimate the impact on Houston when it hosted the trials in 2012 was $20 million in hotel, restaurant and other expenditures.

Los Angeles, which is so often decried for having no civic identity, does turn out on street corners to cheer its marathoners — and does have a long history with the Olympics. The city hosted the Games in 1932 and 1984 — the year of the first women's Olympic marathon — and hopes to be considered for the 2024 Games. The eve of the 31st L.A. Marathon in 2016 would be a fitting time for the city to host its first Olympic marathon trials.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Russia's Olympic Games should go on

    Russia's Olympic Games should go on

    Moscow's discrimination against homosexuals should be denounced, but it should not be the basis for another Olympics boycott.

  • Baseball and softball belong in the Olympics

    Baseball and softball belong in the Olympics

    The International Olympic Committee will decide which sport — baseball/softball, wrestling or squash — will be added for the 2020 Games. The choice is clear.

  • Jumping on the anti-Confederacy bandwagon

    Jumping on the anti-Confederacy bandwagon

    It’s perfectly reasonable for Americans to take down Confederate flags flapping aside Old Glory on public buildings. The flag has become a symbol of racism that still endures in parts of America more than 150 years after the Civil War ended.

  • How Greek was Alexander the Great?

    How Greek was Alexander the Great?

    Alexander the Great was the first global celebrity: a hero, a superman and, so he believed, a god. Not only did he rule most of the known world at the time of his death in 323 BC, he also became a model of paranoid absolutism for all the Caesars and Kaisers and czars to come.

  • Trump is a bad deal for the GOP

    Trump is a bad deal for the GOP

    Poor Donald Trump.

  • Are beautiful, funny women really that hard to find?

    Are beautiful, funny women really that hard to find?

    "In the history of the motion picture business, the number of beautiful, really beautiful women — a Lucille Ball — that are funny, is impossible to find," former Disney CEO Michael Eisner said in a conversation about mindfulness, of all things, with Goldie Hawn at the Aspen Ideas Festival. "The...

Comments
Loading