Marathon Date Can't Please All the People All the Time

Despite being rescheduled twice already, the date for the Los Angeles Marathon could be moved again.

First off, this year's race is staying put. It's on Memorial Day. That's not changing. But as for next year, that's still up in the air.

A motion, introduced by Tom LaBonge and Janice Hahn, wants to move the date of the 2010 marathon back to the first Sunday in March.

Last September, the council unanimously voted that when Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt acquired the race rights, the event would be moved to a Monday holiday in an effort to minimize the effect on Sunday morning church services. Ministers argued the street closures limited churchgoers' access.

So the race was moved to Presidents Day in February.

But then in November, organizers moved the race to Memorial Day, saying more people would have the day off from work. The ministers were happy, but now runners were complaining that the May date would be too hot.

In addition to the heat, holding the race on Memorial Day conflicts with ceremonies honoring veterans, Hahn said.


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"For this marathon to be on Memorial Day ... is really kind of an insult and disrespect to our veterans and those who have served this country," Hahn told City News Service.

Los Angeles Marathon President Russ Pillar appeared open to another change.

"We're supportive of anything that creates a better running experience," Pillar said.

Marathoners said the council's condition that the event be held on a Monday holiday has tied the hands of organizers.

"We had members talking about boycotting the L.A. Marathon," said Bill Lockton with the L.A. Leggers, a running club.

"This year, instead of bringing 800 people to L.A. ... we'll be lucky if we even get 200. Members are angry. They feel betrayed by L.A. They're angry at you and they're angry at the marathon."

LaBonge said he believes the city can move the marathon back to a Sunday while accommodating Angelenos attending services at churches along the race route.

"If you were running down the street and Jesus was on the corner and he was running to church, he'd bring water out to you -- keep you cool," LaBonge quipped.

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