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LA Marathon: Runners stake their places along the starting line

March 17, 2013 |  7:16 am

Photo: The starting area of the Los Angeles Marathon moments before the runners begin. Credit: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times
Family and friends of runners shivered as they staked their places along the starting line of the L.A. marathon at Dodger Stadium on Sunday.

Cecia Garcia and her sister Emely were waiting for their father, who on his 54th birthday is running his 21st marathon.

He hopes to better his time from last year, when rain slowed him down.

FULL COVERAGE: 28th Los Angeles Marathon

"That's his birthday wish," Emely said.

They plan to see him off then rush over to Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake, where Emely will jump in and run a few miles with her dad. They will then meet him at every other mile along the route.

"It's strategically planned," Emely said.

PHOTOS: The 2013 Los Angeles Marathon

While holding a sign that said "Go, Dad Go!" Cecia added: "Cheering for others really unifies the whole community here."

About 24,000 runners were expected to take to the streets Sunday morning and participate in the 28th Asics L.A. Marathon.

The 26.2-mile event begins at Dodger Stadium and will wind through Los Angeles, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills before ending at the intersection of Ocean Avenue and California Avenue in Santa Monica.

In this year's men's field, Kenyan Simon Njoroge, winner of last year's men's race, is again a top contender.

Deena Kastor, the U.S. women's record holder, is among eight elite female runners.

Winners of the men's and women's races each receive $25,000.

There is also a $50,000 gender challenge bonus for the first runner to cross the finish line. The women will start 18 minutes 35 seconds ahead of the men — the difference in time between event records in the men's and women's divisions.

Winners in the wheelchair divisions receive $2,500.

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-- Stephen Ceasar at Dodger Stadium

Photo: The starting area of the Los Angeles Marathon moments before the runners begin. Credit: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

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