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Off and Running: The 23rd Annual LA Marathon

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A clear, crisp early spring morning greeted the participants in this year's LA Marathon, and the runners are filling our city's streets.

Local NBC affiliate KNBC has full coverage of today's big event, which is comprised of two wheelchair divisions, a bike race, a 5k run, and the full 26 mile marathon.

With an 8:15 start, the "elite" groups of men and women lead the way in small sets, and they are hoping to finish in the 2 to 2.5 hour range, while the rest of the pack works on completing at their personal bests.

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The LA Marathon is the fourth-largest in the nation and seventh-largest in the world, and boasts participants from all 50 states and 100 countries. The point-to-point course is in its second year, with some modifications, and was designed to run along the Metro Red Line route, to ease traffic congestion and make watching the race live on the sidelines easier for spectators. According to KNBC, one "addition to the race is 'The Mariachi Mile' where more than 100 mariachis will perform for the runners along Boyle Avenue in Boyle Heights." A team of 30 LAPD SWAT officers are running in a torch-relay in honor of their late fellow-officer Randal Simmons, who recently was killed in the line of duty.

Councilman Tom La Bonge got to start the hand crank wheelchair race, and then began to walk down the route. KNBC caught up with him in Hollywood at mile 4, where he enthusiastically endorsed the race as a great way to see the city, and that "everybody should do it next year."

LAist is cheering on their own Sarah Ardalani and Caroline on Crack, who are pounding the pavement today.

Got pictures of the LA Marathon? Submit them to our LAist Featured Photos Pool on Flickr, and you might see your snapshots on the site. And don't forget that several street closures might be in effect where you are, or where you want to be today.

Photo by TimWilson via Flickr