The hours are ticking down to the 28th annual Long Beach International City Bank Marathon, which will take over the city on Sunday, October 7th. One of the most scenic and flat courses in America, the Long Beach Marathon draws tens of thousands of athletes and spectators each year. The course meanders through quaint seaside communities and urban landmarks, offering ocean views throughout 80% of the route. Although 23,000 athletes are expected to take part in the five events offered, only about 5,000 will be running the full marathon, making it a somewhat intimate event. Moreover, the certified marathon course is the perfect qualifier for other popular races, even the notorious Boston Marathon. As a spectator, you’ll appreciate Long Beach’s moderate Mediterranean climate and the spectacular views of the ocean and the cityscape along the race course. So whether you're a runner yourself, or just someone who loves excitement and good cheer, viewing the Long Beach Marathon is one of the truly unique things to do in Los Angeles. To make the most of your marathon experience, check out the guide below.
Five separate athletic events will take place over the race weekend: the Marathon, Half-Marathon, 26.2 Mile Bike Tour, Run Forest Run 5k, and the Aquarium of the Pacific Kids Fun Run. The Kids Fun Run will take place on Saturday, October 6th, while all the other events will be held on the official race day (Sunday). The race day events will kick-off with the Bike Tour at 6 AM, followed by the Marathon and Half Marathon at 7AM and finally the Run Forest Run 5k at 8:30 AM. Fore more information on start times and specific waves, visit the Marathon’s official website. The Health & Fitness expo draws nearly 50,000 visitors each year, and is the perfect prelude to the race. A surplus of vendors and exhibitors will be on display, selling official Long Beach Marathon merchandise, including top-of-the-line performance gear, running caps, visors, headbands, and much more. The Finish Line Festival on Marina Green is THE place to be as exhausted runners cross the finish line. Celebrate with the athletes and enjoy a wide variety of vendors as well as a Beer Garden for those of age.
Best Viewing Areas
- Start/Finish Line – As this is a loop course, you can catch the start and the end of the race without moving a muscle. You’ll also be able to enjoy the food, drinks, and other entertainment as the first runners cross the line. Situate yourself on Shoreline Drive between Linden and Pine.
- Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool (Mile 9) – Catch the runners here as they get into their groove. There’s a huge grass area to sit on while you wait for the runners.
- Colorado Lagoon (miles 14 and 22.5) – This is an ideal spot because you can catch the runners in two places, just by taking a quick walk along the grassy Lagoon.
- Cal State University (Mile 17-20) – If you want to be there for the runners as they “hit the wall,” find yourself a viewing spot by the California State Academy.
- Ocean Avenue between Livingston and Alamitos (Mile 24-26) – Cheer the runners on as they race to the finish on Ocean Avenue. You’ll also be able to catch the end of the half marathon from this spot.
Finding inexpensive accommodations on marathon weekend can be tricky. However, these hotels offer reasonable prices and still currently have vacancy. Best Western Golden Sails Hotel 6285 E Pacific Coast Highway Long Beach, California, 90803-4803 Phone: (562) 596-1631 Holiday Inn Downtown 1133 Atlantic Avenue Long Beach, California 90813 Phone: (562) 590-8858
By far the most convenient place to park on race day is in the Convention Center/Arena/Terrace Theater parking lots. Although there is a $10 charge for parking, you will be located adjacent to the Long Beach Arena and will be within walking distance of the official start/finish line.
Make Your Way Around LA
While in Greater Los Angeles for the race day festivities, why not see what else the area has to offer? Spend the day before the marathon taking advantage of our Go Los Angeles Card including access to over 39 attractions for one low price. Some of the most popular attractions include the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, Madame Tussauds Hollywood, Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier, and Knotts Berry Farm—to name a few.