Saturday, March 03, 2007

Gentlemen, start your feet!

This Sunday is the L.A. Marathon. I’ve decided not to run it this year. It was an agonizing decision but what tipped it was I’ve never run more than a block in my life. And like most sporting events, it’s more fun to watch it on TV than be in it.

There’s a new parade route. It used to go in a big circle from downtown to almost the Westside and back. But just getting near with Westside triggered complaints of inconvenience and you don’t mess with those folks. No siree. This year the race starts near Universal City (just a bunch of tourists and valley people so who cares?) and it ends downtown. So…uh, where do runners park their cars? At the starting line or finish line? Race organizers are suggesting they take busses or the Metro. They don’t have enough to worry about actually BEING in the race? And we’re talking 20,000 of them.

In general, traffic will be unbelievably screwed up anywhere near the race route. More than 350 major intersections will be closed, along with 22 offramps along the Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Harbor Freeways. If you’re staying at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood and have to get to the airport on Sunday morning – leave NOW. Don’t even finish reading this post. Go! GO!!

The route goes past the Hollywood Bowl (no salute to Gershwin and firework show that morning so runners are in luck there), into Hollywood, down Vine Street past Neil Sedaka’s star, Jiffy Lube (the one preferred by Mae West), and the KFC, winding into Hancock Park (rich people without the Westside clout), then Koreatown (massage parlors offer discounts for runners. Just show your registration fee. You could finish 12,048th and still have a happy ending), downtown, and for the first time – East L.A.

The fastest marathoner on earth will need at least three hours. Jack Bauer routinely covers that route in 36 minutes.

But I have an idea to improve runners’ times. Just hold the race at night. If you’ve got to run through downtown and East Los Angeles at night, trust me, you will not dawdle. World records will be set. In fact, depending on the night, they could be sprinting right past Jack Bauer.

Good luck to everyone participating on Sunday. And I hope that getting to your car doesn’t prove to be harder than running 26.2 miles.

13 comments :

cubnut said...

Ken,

Not only was this a wonderful post, but you wrote it 12 hours into the future, which is the sign of a truly great writer. If only you could run the race with the same gizmo on your back that allowed you to violate the space/time continuum when you crafted this piece, you would win for sure...perhaps even with a negative time!

Ken Levine said...

Huh? I never said I RAN in the race. I said I decided not TO run. Where do you get that this piece assumes the race is in the past tense?

Paul said...

I think he's commenting on the fact that your post says it was posted on Saturday, March 3rd at 10:-something am. Which means you must live in Europe.

Ken Levine said...

Gotcha,

I juggle the time sometimes in my dashboard so that posts appear in the order I want. Don't know if that makes sense but it reminds me of former ABA player Bad News Barnes about to board the team plane from St. Louis to Chicago. Because of time zones it was scheduled to leave at 11:20 and arrive at 11:10. Barnes said, "I ain't getting in no Goddamn time machine!"

VP19 said...

Ken Levine said...

Gotcha,

I juggle the time sometimes in my dashboard so that posts appear in the order I want. Don't know if that makes sense but it reminds me of former ABA player Bad News Barnes about to board the team plane from St. Louis to Chicago. Because of time zones it was scheduled to leave at 11:20 and arrive at 11:10. Barnes said, "I ain't getting in no Goddamn time machine!"


Using that criteria, perhaps it was; St. Louis and Chicago are both in the Central time zone. (I've heard the anecdote before, so perhaps it was a reference to Louisville or Indianapolis, both of which were ABA cities and both of which are generally an hour ahead of St. Louis.)

VP19 said...

Also, to go "backward" timewise, the plane would have had to go west, so the flight would have been to St. Louis from the east.

Mike Barer said...

I don't know about running you running a marathon, but I think it would be fun if you ran for Governor Of California. You would chew the Terminator alive in a debate.

cubnut said...

Yes, I was referring to the advance dating of the original post. Sorry to have gotten things off on the wrong foot, though how wonderful that it led to a discussion of Marvin Barnes and the ABA.

I very much enjoy the blog, Ken, as I have enjoyed your work for years, particularly "It's Gone...No, Wait A Minute" about your play-by-play days.

TCinLA said...

Hey, "VP-19" - a completely non-writing related question: would your handle be anything like "VP-19" relates to "VP-40"??? i.e., ever hang around large multi-engined airplanes with "NAVY" on their flank????

VP19 said...

TCinLA said...
Hey, "VP-19" - a completely non-writing related question: would your handle be anything like "VP-19" relates to "VP-40"??? i.e., ever hang around large multi-engined airplanes with "NAVY" on their flank????


No, I'm not a Navy person...the "VP" stands for my initials, while the "19" refers to the day I was born (Aug. 19, specifically).

BTW, I recall being in Los Angeles (actually near Universal City) the day of the 2000 marathon and was caught in a rare SoCal monsoon.

Miles said...

I got caught up in the traffic nightmare when I planned to meet a friend in Runyon Canyon. Instead I hiked in Griffith Park and then took the metro to Hollywood and Vine to watch the runners. There were actually a lot of people there and it was kind of inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Ken,
You mean most sports are better on TV, except for baseball, right?

I hate baseball on TV. There is no finer experience than being at the ball park.

chad said...

I completely agree! I've done four marathons. I have no desire to do LA. I don't even like driving through LA, much less running through it.

San Francisco Marathon, BEAUTIFUL.