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How To Spectate the 2008 L.A. Marathon

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The 2008 L.A. Marathon is going to be my first one ever so on top of being excited, I'm really really nervous. Run 26.2 miles? Are you kidding me? Eesh! It'll probably be the meanest thing I've ever done to my body so I'm going to need all the encouragement I can get when I'm feeling like giving up at Mile 19. In fact I'm going to go out on a limb and say that all marathoners, especially first-timers, luuuuvs it when people come out and cheer us on from the sidelines. We'll have our names on our bibs so please shout them out when we run by. There's something about hearing our names cheered at the top of people's lungs that is so invigorating.

I've already told all my friends what my pace will be so they can guesstimate where I'll be at various points of the course and hold up "Go Caroline!" signs. But I forgot to tell them all the crucial stuff that marathon spectators might want to know, like where to park, how to get around, where to meet your marathoner after, etc. so I'll tell you...and just email them this post later.

It's going to be crazy driving around L.A. what with all the closures of major streets and about 1 million spectators anticipated to show up. But fortunately the Metro Rail has stations close to the marathon course: Hollywood/Highland and Hollywood/Vine near the beginning of the race, Wilshire/Western, Wilshire/Normandie, Grand, Pico, and the 7th Metro and Pershing Square stops which are five blocks from the Family Reunion Finish Line Festival. Unfortunately spectators won't be allowed on the first three miles of the course nor at the finish line itself. But you can meet your marathoner after the race at special lettered meeting spots at the Finish Line Festival on 3rd Street and Flower where you can find them by their last name.

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If you go Metro make sure to purchase a $5 all day pass in advance so that you don't have to wait in crazy-long ticket vendor lines at each station. You can buy these passes from any Metro bus or any rail station. For parking, check the rail station map to see which rail stations have a park/ride.

Have lots of time to kill til your runner comes by? Fortunately there will be entertainment centers located throughout the course where you can find cultural performances, food festivals and, most importantly, port-a-potties. New on the course is the Mariachi Mile on Mile 21 in Boyle Heights where 100 musicians will be on hand to invigorate runners to those last crucial miles. Dance the mariachi and cheer on your friends from the entertainment center there.

Thanks again for coming out to cheer us on. I'm looking forward to the race and to seeing all the smiley faces on the sidelines. If you happen to spot a girl with a bob tucked into a black cap wearing a black running skirt and "Caroline" on her bib, feel free to give her some love!

2008 L.A. Marathon Course and Metro Map

Photo by bossco via Flickr