Blog Archives

September 8, 2010

Tips from the Race Director – And a Cast of Thousands!

Without a cast of thousands we couldn’t provide you a world class experience.  For our 2010 event we had over 6,000 volunteers helping race week and race day.  So what do 6,000 volunteers do?  The vast majority of these wonderful folks work at the 25 water stations along the course distributing 1,000,000 servings of water, and 200,000 servings of replacement fluid.   Each water station has a coordinator who works with our staff throughout the year preparing for race day.  And every station begins setting up their area hours before the race starts. 

Don’t forget that after you’ve left that station and moved onto the finish, they’re probably still raking up cups, recycling the cardboard, plastic and other detritus, and then they have to put it all back on the truck that delivered it.  Many of these dedicated folks work well over 8 hours making sure you have the water and fluids you need to perform.  In the coming weeks I’ll let you meet some of the other amazing folks who make our event and our lives so much better.  Don’t forget to say thanks next time you see them.

Lastly, I’d like to pay tribute to one of our great volunteers who passed this week, Clara Sibley.  Clara and her husband Arthur had been running our Family Reunion Tent for over 15 years.  They both retired from the US Postal Service many years ago, but they never stopped volunteering for a multitude of events and causes here in Southern California.  They made our community better because of their efforts.   Our thoughts and prayers go out to Arthur and his family.  Clara will be missed.

Nick Curl

September 1, 2010

Ask the Race Director – 42,195 Meters and things that make you go hummm!!

About the only person who has a stride a meter long is Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man.  But he usually only races for 100 meters and at 6’ 5” his stride just walking down the street is longer than you and me.    But, if you run the Honda LA Marathon this March you’re gonna make close to 50,000 steps.  That’s a lot of strides. 

So what can we do to make your strides better?  Here’s some things we’ve done in the past to make race day better, and a request to allof you on how we can make 2011 even better for everyone.

  1. Your bib:   We were the first marathon in the United States to put your name, or nickname on your bib.  Why all other races don’t do it, still confounds me.  We’ve heard from hundreds and hundreds of runners over the past ten years who tell us that having the spectators along the course scream their name in encouragement is worth so much to their race day experience.  So yes, we’ll do it again.  But, don’t forget the deadline to have your name or nickname on your bib is January 1.  And just to make legal happy, we reserve the right to edit any name or nickname.
  2. Timing:  What’s the first US Marathon to use Chip Timing?   The LA Marathon.  Next question on today’s show: what US marathon was the first to use the “B” tag timing system where the timing chip was imbedded in your bib and it was recyclable?  Yes, the 2010 LA Marathon.  So no more  weaving your chip through your shoelaces, and no stopping after the finish to have a volunteer clip off the timing chip.  I’ve seen a few tired runners take a tumble during that process.
  3. Entertainment:  Thanks to a couple of staffers who came up with the idea of placing all our high school cheerleaders in one continuous section (Cheer Alley in Century City) to yell and scream their support for your efforts.  We love ‘em and hope you do to.  And as much as I’ve heard from many of you who are not real enamored of the 1st Street Challenge, we must thank Ginger Williams for placing the Taiko Drummers at the top of the hill across from Disney Hall.  Many people said the energy of the drummers helped them crest that hill. 
  4. And, yes we’ve heard the comments that the Taiko performers remind folks of the tempo drummers in the slave ship segments from the award winning movie Ben Hur.  

  5. Mile marks:  We’ve always had course clocks at every mile, but this year we added big inflatable’s that we could erect at exactly the mile mark. No more looking for trees or street lights to hang mile mark banners that might be hundreds of feet away from the exact mile mark.   We built them really big so everyone could see them many blocks in advance of the mile mark.  We only put up 17 of the mile mark inflatable’s for 2010, but we’ll have them for all the mile marks in 2011.

In closing, we’d love to hear any ideas you have to improve on yours and everyone’s  race day experience.  So send them onto to and we’ll consider them for race day in 2011.    Thanks for listening.

Nick Curl

August 25, 2010

Ask the Race Director – LA Roadrunners

Turn off the computer and get out of the house

Whatever motivation you use to get off the couch and back on the roads is the right one.  I recently ended a habit I’ve struggled with over the years, and the secret for me was only focusing on not doing that habit today!   Not a new concept, but one that can help end a bad habit, or perhaps start a new one.  So turn the PDA or computer off, stand up, grab your house keys, and get out of the house.  Spend 30 minutes walking in your neighborhood, or around the local park, or walk up to the mall and back.  Start the good habit today. And when you’re done, you’ve made the commitment to create a new habit today that can change your life for the better. 

As for tomorrow and next week, we’ve got a program that can help you get out of the house, and keep you motivated.  We meet every Saturday morning, almost 2,000 of us, and we’re all trying to do better for that one day.  And during the week, we’ll provide you a schedule that keeps you going.

The LA Roadrunners is arguably one of the best marathon training programs in the US.  The program starts on September 11 with locations in Venice and Chino Hills and provides training schedules for advanced, intermediate and beginners!  There are 3 distinct styles:  Run, Run/Walk and Walk, and within those styles there  are 20 separate pace groups, so I’m sure there’s one just right for you. 

So sign up today and begin the journey of a lifetime, and all you need to do is start today.  We’ll help you tomorrow and for the next 30 weeks.

Nick Curl

August 11, 2010

Ask the Race Director – The Evolution of the Marathoner

Someone recently asked me what year was it that I first worked a marathon?  Well, that’s not really important but it has been some time. Back than the equation of men to woman in marathons was 90% / 10%.   Today it’s closer to 55% / 45%.   Back then we were celebrating that the International Olympic Committee finally believed woman were strong enough to compete in the marathon distance.   And we celebrated again when Joan Benoit took home gold for the U.S. in the inaugural women’s Olympic marathon. 

Yes, it’s been some time, and running a marathon has come a long way.  Back then it was generally understood that participation came only from those people who were extremely fit and would finish in 3 hours or less.  Today running a marathon is accepted as a life goal, or a way to lose weight, get in shape, and perhaps train and run in tribute to a friend or loved one. Whatever way or for whatever reason you choose to train and run, we’re here to celebrate your accomplishment and hopefully help you along the way.

So don’t wait, sign up today.  And if you’re looking for some help or guidance, and you live in Southern California, we have the world class Roadrunner Marathon training programs in Venice and the Inland Empire. 

Take the challenge and be part of something special!

Nick Curl

August 4, 2010

Ask the Race Director – Wave Starts

Last week we addressed the course changes we’ve made in the goal of improving your race day experience in 2011.  We’ll here’s a bigger change for race day and one we’re excited to announce – Wave Starts will be part of next year’s race.  Although they’ve been around for 30 years in triathlons, most marathons have only embraced them in the last few years.  

For those of you who’ve participated in a major city marathon, the starting line is perhaps the most energized portion of the entire 26.2 miles.  But, it can also be the most confusing and crowded on race day.  Wave starts are designed to reduce the congestion and improve your experience.  The general idea is that there will be corrals inside the two wave starts, and the first wave will have 3 corrals for those runners who’ve completed a marathon in the past year under  3,  4 or  5 hours.  The second wave is an open corral with minutes per mile signs to help seeding.  This qualification helps seed everyone in the pace they’ve run previously.  Less passing others and or being passed.   Don’t forget, if you’re wishing to gain admission to the first corral you must show proof by January 1, 2011 of having run a Marathon in the past year in sub 3, 4 or 5 hours.  There are no exceptions.  We’re still fine tuning how much time they’ll be between waves, and how we’ll handle the staging and loading.  Nonetheless, when we’ve worked out these and a couple other details, we’ll send out the specifics to everyone. 

I’d like to thank Scott Cline for his recent email suggesting we incorporate a shuttle only lane from the Freeway to the Stadium.  We understand the shuttle and parking situation did not work properly on race day.  And  we continue to meet with the folks from Caltrans, MTA and LADOT to make this operation smooth and successful for you ‘all on race day 2011.  We’ll keep you apprised of our progress and plan.

And, thanks to all those folks who contacted us with their insights and experiences from race week and race day. By communicating your experiences to us, both positive and negative, it helps us fix the areas that need improvement and build upon those areas that were successful.

Nick Curl

July 26, 2010

Ask the Race Director – Stadium to the Sea 2.0


Recently I was listening to KCRW interviewing author Barry Eisler about his latest book. During the interview it was revealed that Eisler is a stickler about authenticity and has created a mistakes page on his website that details any mistakes he and/or his readers identified. This started me thinking that I‘d like to do something similar. Being human we’re certainly capable of failing, and I have to admit I made some doozies in 2010. But, we’ve identified many of the areas that need improvement, and wanted you all to know what we’re working on.

Stadium to the Sea 2.0

Many years ago I worked on triathlons here in California and we were always trying to create a better way to allow both participants and spectators the ability to watch the start and see some of the different divisional front runners. The spectators could always see the athletes come into and out of the transitions, but not the participants. So I thought if I did a loop around the Stadium it would allow regular participants to witness the male and female elites run by them, the wheel chair and hand cycles, and so on.

It was a nice idea, but it didn’t work for a number of reasons. One, either you were inside or outside of the loop; two, by having the loop we eliminated all the parking inside the route, and three; it blocked access to folks wanting to go inside the Stadium and stretch on the outfield grass before the race started. It was a nice idea, but it didn’t work. We did review the road width and net gain and loss of the loop. Ironically it was about 25% less than the start of the NYC Marathon. Nonetheless, they’ll be no loop around the Stadium in 2011.

If you have a question or comment you’d like us to address, please click the ‘Leave a Comment’ link below. I won’t guarantee that we’ll post your comments, but we will read all of them.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll post these notes about once a week. Certainly no more, in my goal of sharing what we’re doing to fix the mistakes from 2010, and what we’re doing to make the 2011 race the best it can possibly be.

Nick Curl

SUNDAY, MARCH 15, 2015