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Let's Talk About the Hollywood Half Marathon

A local Patch editor ran the Hollywood Half Marathon this weekend. Did you run the half marathon, 10K or 5K? Did the road closures mess up your Saturday?

I ran 13.1 glorious, sunny, star-filled, hilly miles of Hollywood this weekend. Did you?

Several thousand of you ran the inaugural Hollywood Half Marathon, 10K and 5K this weekend. Maybe it was your first race ever (serious props to Lindsey Baguio, my colleague and editor of Hollywood Patch,), or you trained like crazy for weeks and set a personal record (cheers to my running buddy Bally, who ran his first sub-two-hour half marathon). Maybe you dressed up in a costume or a tutu and bunny ears like my friend and I did, and you just enjoyed the miles and the thrill of posing for a photo in front of a 101 Freeway on-ramp without endangering your life.

Maybe you live in Hollywood and Saturday morning was a huge frustration for you. Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council President Anastasia Mann emailed stakeholders about the closures on Thursday apologizing for the late notice. She indicated it took a week to gather accurate information about the and is following up with officials about why the neighborhood did not receive advance notice.

It’s a fact: road races disrupt traffic and can be really annoying if you are trapped in your neighborhood by several thousand crazy runners. On top of that, it was Easter weekend and the first nights of Passover — not exactly the most travel-friendly weekend of the year.

As both a runner and an L.A. resident (driver), I understand and I sympathize.

However many miles you covered in Hollywood this weekend, either in your running shoes or in your car, trying to get past the road closures and on with your day, I bet you have something to say about the Hollywood races this weekend. Let’s talk about it on Hollywood Patch.

Ken Nwadike Jr., organizer of the Hollywood Half Marathon, posted a statement on the race’s Facebook page about some of Saturday’s mishaps. Here's a portion of it:

"I’ve been fighting for this race to happen for the last 9 months and I’m sure I still have fires to put out within the local community. I’m sure the course will get changed next year based on feedback from the community, which might be good because we may be able to get rid of 'The Hill.' I had fun and I know many of you did too. For those that did, see you next year for a smaller, more exciting race. For those that didn’t, accept my deepest apologies for not foreseeing some of these issues ahead of time."

For the record, this was the race’s first year and most major public events involving thousands of people are prone to a few mistakes the first time around. A lot of people posted enthusiastic, glowing reviews of the race. Do you agree with them? Will you run the race next year? Or leave town and avoid the hassle?

For those of you who did not run or encounter the races this weekend, here is some basic information: 

  1. All three race distances covered Hollywood Boulevard, a very popular weekend destination. Many of the roads surrounding Hollywood Boulevard and the Cahuenga Pass were closed and I saw several drivers reach a road barricade, and peel away in understandable frustration.
  2. Most of the early water stations ran out of cups by the time the masses reached them. I saw many volunteers “waterfalling” water into runners’ mouths, and runners carrying half-gallon jugs of water several miles to stay hydrated.
  3. At least two people I know who ran the race had mismatched race numbers and timing chips. For example, I can vouch for my friend Kristen, who crossed the finish line a few seconds after I did, but according to race officials, she didn’t show up to the race at all. Maybe I’m extrapolating – did you have a mismatched number and chip too?
  4. The half marathon started at City Walk, which means the first three-or-so miles were downhill. We were totally flying at that point, right?
  5. The half marathon ended just before the City Walk hill, which means the last two miles were seriously steep. Oof. Who's still sore today? Who came alive on that hill?

Sara Fay is the editor of Westwood-Century City Patch and an enthusiastic amateur runner. The Hollywood Half Marathon was her second half marathon. She did wear a tutu on the race course. She has also run a marathon and several local 10K's, and she took those races a little more seriously.

ruth April 12, 2012 at 07:41 PM
LaBonge knew about this but it evidently was kept under wraps..Not even our Neighborhood Council was informed in time to prepare everyone ..just dismissed. Nor hotels, or businesses.. How do you get away with this!? A big holiday weekend. We could not even get out of our neighborhood! Hey, Tom, THERE ARE FAMILIES LIVING HERE! Hollywood is not JUST your HOLLYWOOD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. REAL PEOPLE LIVE HERE! How about Marathoning around and through your precious GRIFFITH PARK, the day before Easter?! NO??Why Not?? What about yours or Garcetti's neighborhoods? I didn't think so.... Hollywood is making TONS of money from all these events..causing havoc for this who live here.. Where is all that money going?? Why doesn't someone restore the Blvd.? Or at least give our communities a CUT..That's right, Pay US for the PRIVILEGE of closing OUR PUBLIC STREETS for your MONEY MAKING EVENTS every other day! Maybe you're saving it up for that massive tourist viewing spot, the 'EYE' (a la London) you've been 'pitching' at the corner of Hollywood and Highland.. DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT! ENOUGH ABUSE!
David G. April 13, 2012 at 12:27 PM
I have family in L.A. (The Valley) and they said they could not find info. on the street closures for the 1/2 marathon--They were not aware of the race via the media. Were they looking in the wrong section of the LA Times?? Anyway, I was in from Connecticut with my fiance' and we had a blast! Stayed at the Hilton, very convenient to the start and finish lines---Hill was tough the last 2 1/2 miles and it was even tougher (after the race ended) walking back up the main driveway to Universal City walk when we were done. More cups at miles 9-12 would have been helpful otherwise, it's what you would expect from a first time race this size---Overall, good job Ken in your efforts--It was a great experience, will do it again next year.
Susie Q April 14, 2012 at 05:14 PM
So happy for you, Maxwell that you had a great time. What about my relatives visiting for Passover who were woken up at 4am for sound checks and dance music? How disrespectful of the morons who approved this event on Passover and Easter weekend. Enough already. Include the residents and neighborhood leadership before allowing this kind of inappropriate event.
stephen ward April 20, 2012 at 07:54 PM
if councilman labonge knew about this and kept it under wraps, then how could one not see the flashing LED signs on Hollywood Blvd, along with the "No Parking" signs along the running pathway? We are more aware of what is going on around us that we think we are; blaming someone else for something we dont like doesn't work. Yes there were inconveniences, and they are easy adjustments to make. The event was for a noble cause....I'm all for another event!
stephen ward April 20, 2012 at 08:03 PM
for SUZY O: We had a neighbor that was UPSET because CHILDREN were PLAYING. Do children need to get permission to be play because they are giong to make noise, giggle, dribble a ball, and play hide n seek like all children! Do we have to start checking in with our neighbors to find out if they have guest before we have an event?

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