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Long Beach Marathon Returns To The Streets

Marathon runners are shown leaving the starting line at sunrise. To the right are empty bleachers and a row of photographers. The sun can be seen just rising behind the bleachers, barely over the horizon. It casts a yellow glow over the event.
Long Beach half-marathon runners leave the starting line.
(Sharon McNary
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Sunday marked the first in-person running of the Long Beach Marathon since the pandemic began.

Over 10,000 people signed up to participate in events, which spanned the entire weekend and included a 5K race and a bike tour in addition to the marathon and half marathon. Organizers were thrilled to be back on the road.

"This is the first live, in-person event in over 727 days," said event organizer Dan Cruz. "We're excited to celebrate on the streets of Long Beach."

Over 20% of runners on Sunday were participating in their first marathon, which Cruz sees as a silver lining of the pandemic lockdown.

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"When gyms were shut down, when yoga and fitness studios were closed, people could put on a pair of shoes and head out the door," he said. "We're excited to help get people up off the couch, out onto the roads and sidewalks for exercise."

Last year's event was held virtually. Participating athletes completed the races on their own, then received medals in the mail.