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One L.A. race already over

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With all the attention on the mayoral races, LAist almost let another big race pass by -- the Los Angeles marathon, in which several thousand people got up way too early last Sunday to run 26.2 miles. Although we are tremendous fans of cheering on marathon runners -- and around the 16 mile mark, many marathoners are tremendous fans of being cheered -- we are also very, very fond of watching the race on NBC 4 while eating our little chocolate doughnuts and muttering, "Better you than me."

Top finishers Mark Saina (M) and Lyubov Denisova (F) each won a car and $25,000, and each got a $10,000 bonus for their impressively low finishing times -- Saina finished in 2:09:35, 10 seconds off the race record, while Denisova finished in 2:26:11. However, Denisova was unhappy because she didn't get what she felt was a fair shot at the $75,000 bonus awarded to the first person across the finish line, since the elite women runners' differential (a fancy word for head start) was only a 15 minutes, 50 second head start over the elite men, cut down from 20 minutes, 30 seconds last year. Saina had originally thought the differential was too large to beat, but proved otherwise, extending the Kenyan domination of the race for the seventh straight year.

Just because the L.A. Marathon is gone until next year doesn't mean there aren't plenty of ways you can pound the pavement in SoCal. Far-thinking runners can gear up for this fall's Nautica Malibu Triathlon or Long Beach Half Marathon, or join the L.A. Leggers this July in anticipation of next year's L.A. Marathon.

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Anyone who's looking for a short-term commitment -- or shorter race -- can check out any of the following upcoming events from now until the end of April: The L.A. Leadership Academy First Annual 5K on Sunday, March 19 (Koreatown); The Reggae Rhythm of Life Run on Saturday, March 26 (Griffith Park); Running the Waves Mailbu 5K on Saturday, April 2 (Malibu); The Achievable Walk, Run and Woof -- for you and the dog! -- on Sunday, April 3 (Century City); City of Los Angeles Run for Victims' Rights on Sunday, April 10 (Griffith Park). or the LMU 10th Annual Run for the Bay on Saturday, April 16 (Westchester). Or get a few friends together and run the 24th Annual Jimmy Stewart Marathon Relay on Sunday, April 17.

LAist loves 5K road races -- not only do you get the smug thrill of having worked out early in the morning, you also get a t-shirt and you usually get free breakfast at the finish line. We can think of worse ways to spend the $20 it usually costs to register for a race.