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Running Bored: Could the LA Marathon Improve the View?

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There's been controversy aplenty surrounding the date of the LA Marathon this year, and now, in preparation for next year's run, founder and 15-time marathon runner Greer Wylder suggests in an LA Times editorial today that organizers also consider improving the route. Why? Because, to be blunt, it's really ugly.

Wylder wonders "why organizers have mapped out a course so visually deadening when we live in a city filled with iconic sights," and laments the 26.2 mile stretch of "nondescript houses, convenience stores, strip malls, office buildings, chain-link fences and car lots." Did the organizers perhaps forget that runners need something to look at as they move through our oftentimes breathtakingly beautiful city? "You get the impression that organizers drew the course based on how easily a street could be closed off, not taking into account the experience of the runner," notes Wylder.

So what routes could future marathons take?

Wylder offers the following:

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To take in some of the city's more memorable sights, runners could start at Dodger Stadium, go through Chinatown, then up Sunset Boulevard to Hollywood, on to Beverly Hills and Westwood, and finishing at the beach in Santa Monica. Or the route could capitalize on the city's entertainment cachet, sending runners through Hollywood, with a dash down Rodeo Drive and along Melrose Avenue before ending up near Staples Center.

How about a historical tour? Runners could kick off in Boyle Heights, zip through Union Station, circle the Watts Towers and conclude with a dramatic Coliseum finish. Or we could just keep it simple with 26 miles of coastline.

Will Marathon organizers and City government consider a re-routing? It certainly would improve the vista for those pounding the pavement, and for those watching at home. Although making the run attractive isn't the point of the race, showing off our city couldn't hurt--and it couldn't hurt to help change a typical non-Angeleno's perspective of LA as being a charmless sprawl of concrete and cars.