First the city's image makers decided the L.A. Marathon needed to be run past landmarks that would be recognizable on TV — so the route was changed. Then the churches complained that the race's street closures kept congregants out of the pews — so it was moved from a Sunday to a “holiday Monday.” The first such Monday happens to be Memorial Day — two full months later than the traditional March date. And now the runners themselves have pleaded with the City Council — to move the race back to March and thus avoid the withering heat that can arrive in late May.
According to the L.A. Times, three council members have listened and are now willing to move to push the event back to March, beginning next year — though the 2009 marathon will have to go through as scheduled, for May 25.
“I am a man of faith,” the Times quotes LaBonge. “I'm not an
expert on religion, but a fellow named Jesus would be out there giving
people water. It's an inspirational thing.”
But it may take a
miraculous thing to bring the L.A. Marathon the kind of attention and
respect it has craved since its first race in 1986. The council motion,
introduced by LaBonge, Janice Hahn and Bill Rosendahl to move back the
date to March, notes how “the number of entrants thus far is less than
in past years, not a good sign . . .”
Not a good sign at all. But keeping the race cool is a great place to start to fix things.