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Santa Monica Loses LA Marathon

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica

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By Jorge Casuso

April 23, 2020 -- After a an 11-year run to the finish line through Santa Monica, the LA Marathon announced Thursday that next year's race will end in Century City instead of the Pier.

The decision deals a blow to Santa Monica's crippled business sector, which since 2010 has counted on the annual event to pump millions of dollars in revenues into the local economy.

Marathon officials said the change of venue will open up more room at the finish line for the 26.2-mile race, which last year drew 26,000 runners and countless spectators.

“We had a footprint challenge in Santa Monica, just from a space perspective,” said Murphy Reinschreiber, the chief operating officer of the McCourt Foundation, which stages the race.

“We realized that there’s so much more we could do if we just had a bigger footprint at the finish line,” Reinschreiber said.

The new venue has room to better accommodate VIPs, elite athletes, charities and running clubs that take part of the annual event, organizers said.

Since 2010, the LA Marathon -- dubbed “The Stadium to the Sea” -- has boosted the bottom lines of Santa Monica hotels, restaurants and retailers, who eagerly awaited the March event that marked the start of spring.

Some 2,000 guests booked rooms each year, forcing hotels to set aside rooms for business travelers, and runners and spectators fanned out from the finish line to spend their money at bars, restaurants and shops.

But the race also caused a logistical challenge for the City, which had to beef up security, shut down streets and redirect residents and traffic.

When the City Council voted in 2009 to bring the race to Santa Monica, it had to weigh both the benefits and drawbacks ("LA Marathon Could Run Through Santa Monica," July 28, 2009).

The race, staff wrote in its report, presents a "unique opportunity" for the city to be part of a world-class race that "provides economic benefits" and "attracts extensive media coverage for the community,”

But staff warned that the race would also stretch the City’s resources thin and raise concerns "regarding public safety, traffic management, neighborhood impacts, coordination of overall logistics, and legalities.”

Over the years, those issues were ironed out as the race became a boon to the city and a Santa Monica tradition that in the end proved short lived.

Next year's race -- which will once again begin at Dodgers Stadium -- will be dubbed "Stadium to the Stars."

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