Ideal weather and a run past Oscar statues make for high spirits at the 37th annual Los Angeles Marathon

Delvine Meringor is photographed holding the flag of Kenya
Delvine Meringor of Kenya wins the women’s division of the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Ovid Maximus wanted to be certain a pair of friends and co-workers noticed him along Sunday’s marathon route. And truly, the 35-year-old was unmissable.

Maximus dressed in a neon-green suit — running shirt, sleeves, shorts and socks — and waved a homemade sign that read: “Hurry Up!!! I need to cross Hollywood Blvd.”

For the record:

2:31 p.m. March 21, 2022An earlier version of this post stated that the first name of spectator Jess Gonzalez’s fiance was Edgar. His name is Egor.

“I wanted to have fun and cheer on my friends,” said Maximus, who had walked from his apartment three blocks south toward Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue. “If they’re going to do all this work, at least I can support them.”

As for post-race celebrations, Maximus has an ideal spot. “As soon as my friends pass me, I’m heading back home and getting into bed,” he said. “This is too early.”


Maximus was one of many who lined city streets Sunday to cheer on the estimated 15,000 athletes from around the country — and the world — who ran the 37th annual Los Angeles Marathon.

Delvine Meringor of Kenya crossed the finish line first Sunday, earning $10,000 and taking the women’s division, followed by John Korir, also of Kenya, the men’s champion.

Meringor held off Korir’s challenge by about 8 seconds at the end , winning the women’s race in 2 hours, 25 minutes and 3 seconds. Korir — for the second consecutive year — won the men’s race, with a time of 2 hours, 9 minutes and 7 seconds. Under marathon rules, elite female runners started the race 16 minutes and 5 seconds before the men.

The 26.2-mile course that spans some of the city’s most iconic neighborhoods was the second in four months. Last year’s race was moved from March to November because of the pandemic.

A crowd of marathon runners
Runners take off from Dodger Stadium on Sunday during the 37th annual Los Angeles Marathon.
(Kyusung Gong / For The Times)

Most participants in the marathon were expected to take three to five hours to complete the course from downtown Los Angeles to the finish line in Century City. But the elite runners typically finish the race in a little more than two hours.


Runners enjoyed ideal weather conditions, with sunny skies and comfortable temperatures — highs in the mid-70s — forecast for much of the day. The 2022 marathon route mirrored last year’s to a T, including a twist at the end that departed from earlier races (before 2021).

Signs reading "LA 37" are held above a crowd of runners
Runners take off from Dodger Stadium during the 37th annual Los Angeles Marathon in Los Angeles.
(Kyusung Gong / For the Times)

Runners began at Dodger Stadium and continued through downtown before turning northwest past Echo Park Lake and into Hollywood. Participants using wheelchairs started at 6:30 a.m., followed by elite women runners at 6:45 a.m. and elite men at 6:55 a.m.

A chorus of taiko drums, cheers, applause and dog howls welcomed runners and wheelchair competitors as they began their journey uphill on 1st Street downtown.

A runner in Native American costume
A runner in Native American costume dances in front of drummers on 1st Street in downtown during the 37th annual Los Angeles Marathon.
(Kyusung Gong / For The Times)

“This is the steepest part and the cheers really help,” said spectator Jess Gonzalez, 33, holding her dog, Shark. Gonzalez and her cousin woke up at 4 a.m. and drove from their West Valley home to downtown so they could cheer on Gonzalez’s fiance, Egor.

As a former competitor, Gonzalez said this year’s marathon felt special because her fiance, who is Ukrainian, would be running with his country’s flag. She held up a sign offering encouragement: “Go! Go! Go! Egor!”

Just before 9 a.m., the Koshin Taiko band took a quick break from playing their drums. Virginia Minami, 58, leader of the group, compared their hours-long performance to those competing in the marathon.

“They’re running with their legs,” the Torrance resident said. “And we’re running with our arms.”

Minami said she has been with the group since the early ’90s and remembers when the route would pass by Little Tokyo. Back then, the band would start on one side of the street, and quickly jump over to the opposite side to catch those nearing the finish line.

She said the new location is easier on the band but tougher on the competitors because of 1st Street’s steep incline.


“I think that’s why we’re here,” she said. “To ‘help’ get the runners up the hill. But I don’t think the pros need us all that much.”

Several runners stopped to pose for selfies alongside Oscar statues placed at the entrance to Hollywood Boulevard’s Dolby Theatre, which will host the Academy Awards next Sunday.

Runners pass Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Runners make the turn onto Grand Avenue on Sunday and pass Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown L.A. during the 37th annual Los Angeles Marathon.
(Kyusung Gong / For The Times)

The setting was perfect for Carson native Albert Navarro, 29, who left his home at 6 a.m. to support his brother, race entrant Luis Navarro, 31.

The elder Navarro had yet to reach the 11-mile marker near Hollywood and Highland by 9 a.m.

“He’s been training for this for a while, so I know he wants to do well,” Navarro said. He clasped his brother’s 2021 L.A. Marathon medal as he searched the crowd for his face.


Last year’s time was imprinted on the medal — 4 hours, 37 minutes and 4 seconds — and Navarro said he believed that his brother would surpass that time this year.

Members of the Los Angeles Football Club’s fan-driven Black and Gold running club were clad in the team’s colors for Sunday’s marathon. About 20 of them shouted, rang cowbells and cheered, while one waved a large banner with the club’s logo near the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and North Las Palmas Avenue.

Corona native Neal Tyner, 39, the group’s founder, said this was year No. 3 for the group at the marathon and his first on the sidelines after competing in previous events.

“Seeing the passion from the runners and the boost they get from us being out here is great,” Tyner said. “We love being a part of this.”

A runner crosses the finish line on Avenue of the Stars
A runner crosses the finish line on Avenue of the Stars in Century City during the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Tyner said the group is made up of 100 or so LAFC fans from throughout Southern California, who all share a passion for soccer and running.


“This is the perfect place for our community to be with runners from all over the area and to be with LAFC fans from all over,” he said.

Tyner said the group entered about 25 runners in November’s marathon and scaled down to 10 this time to give many, including him, a break. The group previously participated in the Rose Bowl Half Marathon in January and Las Vegas’ Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon last month.

Runners cross the finish line on Avenue of the Stars
Runners cross the finish line on Avenue of the Stars in Century City during the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

In Century City, Amanda Phillips said she traveled from her home in Hood River, Ore., to compete in Sunday’s marathon. It was worth the trip.

The 36-year-old was the first American female to finish the race Sunday at roughly 2 hours and 35 minutes, beating her personal record. Her family members met her with hugs just past the finish line.

A few minutes later, she spoke to the crowd from the winner’s podium with an American flag draped around her neck.


“I’m proud of working through the hard parts of this course,” she said. “It’s a course you definitely have to be mentally tough for.”

This was Eloise Stanton’s first marathon and, against all odds, she won the general women’s category, beating all her non-competitive female challengers with a 7:03-average mile.

“It was really cool. It was a lot lonelier than I thought it would be,” she said near the finish line Sunday morning with her new L.A. Marathon medal around her neck. “It was pretty easy until the 19th mile.“

Despite her impressive finish, the 26-year-old Mar Vista resident says she didn’t do anything special to prepare for the race other than run a lot, as she usually does, and limit her drinking of alcohol.

“I ran 20 miles two weeks ago to see if I could do it,” she said. “But I run 10 miles every morning, and I only drank on St. Patrick’s Day.”

After the adrenaline wears off, she said her next stop will be a bar. After an oatmeal-only breakfast and an impressive time, she feels like she’s earned a margarita or two.

Runners cross the finish line on Avenue of the Stars
Runners cross the finish line on Avenue of the Stars in Century City during the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)