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Marathon Is Cut in Half, but It’s Alive and Well

Times Staff Writer

Organizers of the ill-fated San Fernando Valley Marathon--the first of which was supposed to take place a year ago this week--said Wednesday they will stage a half-marathon on Jan. 18.

Race director Bill Lovelace announced that 12 1/2 miles of the 13.1-mile run will be held along the two northern lanes of Ventura Boulevard, beginning in Woodland Hills and ending in Studio City.

Lest anyone wonders if this one might go the way of the marathon and never occur, Lovelace said: “We’re going. Believe me, I would not tell you if we weren’t. I would not embarrass myself.”

Lovelace said that people still ask him, “Whatever happened to the Valley Marathon?”

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The first 26.2-mile race to be run in the Valley was set for Nov. 17, 1985. It was canceled because it lacked sponsors.

The Basin Blues, an Encino-based running club organizing the marathon, adjusted its goals and opted instead for a half-marathon because it costs about half as much to put on as a marathon, Lovelace said.

The club budgeted about $20,000 for the Jan. 18 race and so far has raised about $15,500 in sponsorship commitments, Lovelace said. In addition, TWA will award the men’s and women’s winners with two round-trip tickets to any destination in the United States or the Caribbean.

Lovelace, who was logistics manager for the 1984 Olympic marathons, expects runners to be excited about the course.

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“It’s the oldest gag in the world--every course is flat and fast,” he said. “But this one truly is basically downhill.”

Lovelace also said some will use the race to prepare for the L.A. Marathon, which is scheduled for March 1.


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