Record heat will have L.A. Marathon runners blazing

A sign posted on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica warns travelers of road closures for the 30th annual Los Angeles Marathon on March 15.
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

About 26,000 people are expected to participate in Sunday’s 30th annual Los Angeles Marathon, braving record-breaking temperatures as a heat wave that has broiled the region continues for the third straight day.

Runners from all 50 states and 55 different countries will take to the streets in the 26.2-mile run that extends from downtown to the beach in Santa Monica. L.A. Marathon organizers have pushed up the starting time for the race to 6:55 a.m., 30 minutes earlier, because of the heat.

Santa Ana conditions combined with a high pressure system moving across the region are expected to cause temperatures to reach the upper 80s throughout the region.


Saturday’s hot temperatures broke several records and sent crowds scurrying to the beach seeking relief.

Downtown set a record with a temperature of 91; the previous record was 88, set in 1951. Los Angeles International Airport also set a record with a temperature of 91, and Long Beach with a temperature of 92.

The heat brought summertime-size crowds to Los Angeles County beaches. They were about as packed as a typical Fourth of July weekend, with attendance probably above 1 million, lifeguards said.

“It’s warm out, we’re busy and we’ve been making rescues all day,” A.J. Lester, ocean lifeguard specialist with the Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguard Division, said from the lifeguard tower at the Hermosa Beach pier. “It’s pretty nuts down here.”


The swell in crowds had lifeguards busy trying to keep swimmers away from rip currents and other hazards.


“Every lifeguard that wanted to worked today,” Lester said, “to keep up with the amount of activity we had and to make sure that everyone goes home safely.”