BY: ANH NGUYEN
Not into running? You can still participate in the 31st Annual Long Beach Marathon this Sunday by spectating and cheering the runners on. With the half and full marathon events having a time limit of 7.5 hours, it gives you the whole day to sit back and watch as thousands of people run.
The most populated spot for watching the race is the starting line. Unless you have family members or friends running the 26.2 mile race, it is recommended not to watch at the starting gate because of the large crowd.
The anticipated 5,000 full marathons runners will begin their march in the Rainbow Lagoon. Racers will then make their way along Shoreline Drive past the Ferris wheel while onlookers cheer above from the Long Beach Convention Center. The bridge connecting Shoreline Village to the convention center will give you a bird’s eye view of the organized madness with each wave of runners.
Next up, racers will sprint up the Queensway Bridge leading towards the Queen Mary. Here, runners will get a free water show – courtesy of the Long Beach Fire Department’s fireboat – before looping back around towards the Shoreline Lighthouse and Rainbow Harbor. There will be an entertainment station in front of the Aquarium of the Pacific providing both entertainment and a perfect shaded spot to cheer the participants.
After being greeted by mariners in Shoreline Village, runners will return near the starting line as an expected 14,000 half-marathon runners begin their start time along with a full entourage of families and friends. However, like at 6a.m., it still isn’t suggested to watch the marathon from the gates because of overcrowding.
After a dart through the marina parking lot, runners get a nice view of the Pacific Ocean, along with a clear flat-path along Alamitos Beach and Junipero Beach towards the Belmont Pier. Bixby Park or Bluff Park is a good scouting area above the boardwalk. However, Bixby Park would be the better choice because there will be two entertainment and water stations near.
The runners will then pass the Belmont Pool, and run past Rosie’s Dog Beach and make a quick U-turn at Belmont Shore. Here, runners will be greeted by locals handing out fresh orange slices and donut balls as they race down Ocean Blvd.
At mile 10.5, the half marathon and full marathon split paths and the full marathon racers make their way toward, Marine Stadium, Marina Vista Park and the Colorado Lagoon and Wilson High School.
For those of you staying near or on the CSULB campus, the ASI Programming Board has teamed up with Run Racing to organize some festivities for the runners and spectators. This year’s theme is “Rock and Run Throughout CSULB.” Students, faculties and staff are encouraged to dress up as their favorite rock star and cheer on the runners.
According to ASI Programming Board Member Angie Dominguez, there will be a designated cheer station at the Soroptimist House for volunteers to make posters and adlib their support. Near the 17-mile mark, student-volunteers will be handing out water at the Recreation and Wellness Center. Also an 80s cover band, aptly named “Stone Cutters”, will be performing from 8:30-12 p.m. K-Beach radio will also be broadcasting live from the event. For those that live near campus, this location is easily accessible and provides the most fanfare.
Near the parking structure by The Walter Pyramid on Merriam Way, the Long Beach spirit team, which consists of the band, cheer and dance teams, will be performing their dance numbers. The Long Beach Track team will also be on hand for a meet-and-greet and to cheer the runners on.
If you rather run than watch, registration is still open. It’s not too late to grab that racing tech shirt and finisher’s medal and make it your own. For more information visit www.runlongbeach.com.