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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.