Half-Marathoners to Run from Venice to Playa del Rey

A running bear, a Taiko drum group, a Bollywood dance company and a beer garden are all in store during the half-marathon Sunday through Venice, Marina del Rey and Playa del Rey.

More than 3,500 half-marathoners will flood Venice, Marina del Rey and Playa del Rey this Sunday for the third annual 13.1 Marathon and another 500 are expected for the Karhu 5K that will start at Dockweiler State Beach and end in Playa del Rey.

The 13.1-mile half-marathon will begin Sunday at 7 a.m. at Rose Avenue and the Venice Boardwalk and the runners will head south around the picturesque Marina del Rey harbor and continue along Playa del Rey into Dockweiler State Beach. The runners will turn-around in El Segundo and finish at Lagoon Park in Playa del Rey. (See attached for details.)

U.S. Olympic runner Lopez Lomong will lead approximately 700 runners in the half-marathon who are raising funds for Team World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization. Donations generated by the runners will go toward clean water projects in Kenya and Malawi. Los Angeles Parks Bureau Deputy Chris Deaville is among the Team World Vision runners who have lobbied to raise $2,000 each for the charity, according to a Los Angeles Sheriff's Department community message.

U.S. Road Sports and Entertainment Group, the Dallas-based parent company of race organizer Thirteen.One, is relatively new at the business of racing, but aims to give runners "world class event production and an amazing post race experience geared towards families with a kids' zone and others with our Michelob ULTRA beer garden," said Steve Obert, vice president of sales and marketing for U.S. Road Sports and Entertainment Group.

Kishin Daiko, a Japanese Taiko drum group, and Bollywood Step Dance are just two of the many acts that will be placed along the course to keep the runners and crowd motivated. The band BERN also has been picked as the finishing line act.

"[BERN] is comprised of some of the best L.A. studio musicians," said Thirteen.One entertainment organizer Javier Sanchez. "We’re quite excited to have them aboard."

Several local public schools are also involved in entertaining the crowds and runners, including: the Los Angeles High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Color Guard; marching drum bands from Culver City and San Gabriel high schools; and the Santa Monica College cheer squads.

The boutique hotel  in Marina del Rey is one of the sponsors and a host hotel for the event. Executive chef Allyson Thurber, formerly of The Lobster (Santa Monica) and The Water Grill (Los Angeles), will serve a pre-race pasta buffet, with salad and garlic bread Saturday at the inn's premier restaurant Vü (pronounced "view"). The promotion is open to the public.

Jamaica Bay Inn general manager Shawn Highland said she signed up for the race with five other inn employees before the hotel was even asked to partner.

Highland said he was training for an 11-mile mud run and needed an interim race to get in shape.

"I just want it to be over," Highland said laughing. "I've been training for 12 weeks for this."

Those who aren't quite ready for the half-marathon can sign up for the Karhu 5K, a separate 3.1 mile race, and get the chance to win a pair of shoes in the "Beat the Bear" contest. Running shoe maker Kahru, which means "bear" in Finnish, will give away a pair of shoes to the first 10 individuals who beat their mascot in the race. The 5K starts at Dockweiler State Beach at 7:15 a.m. and ends at Lagoon Park.

Here's some road closure information: The Los Angeles Department of Transportation will close southbound traffic on Pacific Avenue from Rose Avenue to Washington Boulevard, as well as southbound traffic on Ocean Avenue; whereas westbound traffic will be closed on Washington Boulevard at Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Near Los Angeles International Airport, westbound traffic will be closed on Imperial Highway at Pershing Drive and Culver Boulevard will be closed going westbound at Pershing Drive in Playa del Rey. (See full details below, includng bike path closures, and attached.)

LADOT will utilize rolling closures for this event, meaning they will open roads once participants have cleared the area, but have warned roads may be closed from as early as 4 a.m. to as late as 1 p.m. on Sunday.

The race, based on a 16-minute mile, is walker friendly and gives participants three and a half hours to complete the course, until about 10:30 a.m.

All finishers will receive a finisher's medal. Custom designed medals will be awarded to those who finish first through third in their age group, and cash prizes of $1,000, $500 and $250 will be given to the three fastest overall males and females of the race.

Time has not run out to sign up for the race. Runners can register online until Jan. 12 or at the registration tables on race day. The half-marathon registration fee is $100, while the 5K is $30.

Road Closure Information

(Source: 13.1 Los Angeles)

Street closures (note times are approximate, streets will reopen as the last runner clears the area).

Pacific Ave at South Venice Blvd. - 6:30 a.m. - 7:15 a.m.
South Venice Blvd. - 6:30 a.m. - 7:30 a.m.
Ocean Ave. - 6:45 a.m.- 7:30 a.m.

Marina del Rey/County of Los Angeles:
Via Marina at Admiralty to Washington Blvd. - 6:45 a.m. - 7:30 a.m.
Admiralty Way at Palawan Way - 6:45 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.
Admiralty Way at Bali Way - 6:45 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.
Admiralty Way  at Mindanao Way - 6:45 a.m. - 8:30 a.m
Fiji Way - opens at 8:45 a.m.

Bike Path:
Between Playa del Rey and Marina del Rey - 6:45 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.
Between Imperial Hwy and Ballona Creek - 6:45 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Playa del Rey:
Vista del Mar is closed between Culver Blvd. and Grand Ave. - 6:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Pacific Ave/Trolley Place will be closed from 5:00 a.m. - Noon

El Segundo:
Vista del Mar will have one lane of traffic between Grand Avene and Manhattan Beach between 6:45 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.


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