It's official: Spectators who turn out to cheer a marathon-running friend on are some of the best people on earth.
Why? Figure this: Most people who come out to watch a sporting event stick to their team for the duration. But a marathon? Before your friend arrives, and after she speeds by, you've got time on your hands. So why not clap for strangers you'll never see again? It's a gesture of goodwill, and many people do it.
We know, you want to find the perfect curb with unadulterated views, a bench, and a coffee shop within mere feet. But so does just about everyone else watching the runners. So take the organizers' advice and do things like...
- Use the Golden State Gate if you're headed for the starting line at Dodger Stadium (lanes are given, too, for drop-offs).
- Locate an entertainment stage, if you want to have a little music in your mix. There are eight stages in all -- at miles 1, 3, 10, 11.5, 18, 20, 21, 25.
- Lend your voice to the Cheer Zone. It's without a doubt one of the sunniest stretches of the event. It's at Rodeo Drive and Dayton Way in Beverly Hills. And if you're near Little Santa Monica Boulevard and Moreno Drive, you'll likely hear Cheer Alley, where some 600 cheerleaders gather to happily chant 'n shout hoofers along.
- Family Reunion Area. It's not too far from the finish line -- that's at Ocean and California avenues -- but far enough that you won't be caught up in too much swell. Ocean Avenue between Broadway and California Avenue in Santa Monica is the spot.
- There are many more great tips here, but here's the advice you need to remember most: arrive early, arrive early, and arrive early.
And second piece of great advice? Buy lunch or dinner for your runner and let them regale you with tales from the road.