Amid coronavirus, a non-contact L.A. Marathon is on tap this year

2013 L.A. Marathon start
Runners start the 2013 L.A. Marathon at Dodger Stadium.
(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

Despite growing concerns about coronavirus, the Los Angeles Marathon is scheduled to be held as scheduled Sunday — but with some unusual recommendations.

L.A. County health officials recommended that spectators who are sick stay home and that anyone who attends stay six feet away from others. Runners were advised to wash their hands before the race and to not shake hands with other participants or the public. Ferrer also recommended that they use hand sanitizer that will be available along the course.

“We are not currently recommending the suspension of any large public events, including the L.A. Marathon,” Barbara Ferrer, director of the county Public Health Department, said in a statement Thursday. “The public can continue to enjoy all that L.A. County has to offer, including this historic event.”


The marathon is one of the largest in the country. Runners traverse the city, starting at Dodger Stadium and ending near the Santa Monica Pier.

“We are actively monitoring the situation and communicating directly with participants via social channels, email and our website to update them as we learn more,” Murphy Reinschreiber, chief operating officer of the McCourt Foundation, which organizes the event, said in an email. “Runner safety is paramount and will continue to be our top priority.”

Spots in next year’s field will be reserved for runners who live in countries affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and are unable to participate in this year’s race, he said. So far, 240 cases have been diagnosed nationwide, with more than 100,000 cases worldwide.