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Category: Los Angeles County

Freeway crashes gnarl Monday morning commutes

A pair of car crashes on Los Angeles-area freeways ground morning commutes to a crawl Monday.

About 5:30 a.m., witnesses reported an overturned Toyota Camry on the northbound 5 Freeway near Colorado Street in Glendale.

The two right lanes were blocked while firefighters responded, however the scene was expected to be cleared by 7 a.m., a California Highway Patrol official said.

Meanwhile, in the South Pasadena area, authorities were working to clear a multiple-car crash on the southbound 110 Freeway south of Orange Grove Boulevard. Witnesses reported up to three cars involved in that accident, with one overturned.

The crash was blocking two lanes as of 6:45 a.m. but no Sig-alert was required, according to the CHP.

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Traffic clogged by L.A. Marathon slowly clearing

Photo: Participants running down Hollywood boulevard during the annual Asics LA Marathon in Hollywood. Credit: Joe Klamar / AFP / Getty Images
As L.A. marathon runners headed west toward the Santa Monica finish line, traffic in Los Angeles appeared to be slowly returning to normal.

With most traffic tie-ups relegated to the Westside on Santa Monica Boulevard and portions of the 10 and 405 Freeways, the Department of Transportation’s website showed that streets elsewhere in Los Angeles were wide open.

PHOTOS: The 2013 Los Angeles Marathon

The 26.2-mile race began at Dodger Stadium where nearby streets began closing at 3 a.m. That area, as well as downtown, was scheduled to be clear of closures by 10:20 a.m. Officials estimated streets in Hollywood would be open by 12:15 p.m. Additional areas were to be opened on a rolling basis as runners headed west.

For specific street closure information, go to http://trafficinfo.lacity.org/images/MarathonInfo2013.pdf. Those using public transportation can contact Metro at (323) GO METRO or visit www.metro.net.

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Photo: Participants running down Hollywood boulevard during the annual Asics LA Marathon in Hollywood. Credit: Joe Klamar / AFP / Getty Images

L.A. Marathon: Families raise money for homeless children

 Photo: Edward Clark embraces his daughter Maya during the race. Credit: Joseph SernaThis was a marathon of surprises for the Nuki and Clark families.

Running for their grass-roots organization Dads for Charity, the team was riddled with injuries ahead of Sunday’s L.A. Marathon. Only Edward Nuki and Brian Clark, both 45, were able to participate.

Standing near the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, Nuki and Clark’s families came out to cheer them on.

The screams were deafening.

"Go Edward go!" Tracy Nuki yelled when she spotted her husband. The two families jumped up and down in excitement,  waving signs over their heads.

PHOTOS: The 2013 Los Angeles Marathon

Edward surprised all of them, stopped running and gave his son Kai, 8, a hug and a kiss and told him he loved him.

"He's never stopped before," his wife said.

Then again, the team has never attempted a full marathon before.

Up next was Edward Clark. His wife spotted him first, then his daughter Maya, 8.

"Go daddy go! Go daddy go!" she yelled.

Edward stopped too, picked up Maya and gave her a kiss. She was still giddy when he ran off.

The team is raising money for homeless children.

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Photo: Edward Clark embraces his daughter Maya during the race. Credit: Joseph Serna

Before L.A. Marathon, cyclists hold their own race on open streets

Photo: Cyclists gather on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake in the pre-dawn hours. Credit: Laura Nelson.

Hours before the L.A. Marathon began, thousands of cyclists gathered at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Fountain Avenue in Silver Lake, readying themselves for their own big race.

Some stretched. Others chatted. A few did practice runs down side streets.

"The mentality is almost always us versus them, bikes versus cars," said Lyndsay McKeever, 24, after pinning on her racing number. "This is the one day a year that we get to be free."

PHOTOS: The 2013 Los Angeles Marathon

Minutes later, she joined the scrum of bicyclists swarming the intersection in preparation for the annual Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race.

The crash race is the largest urban-underground bike race in the world, and takes advantage of the road closures in the hours before the Los Angeles Marathon. Between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m., more than 3,000 bicyclists arrived to participate—some racing, others just along for the ride—before the runners showed up.

The race ended in Santa Monica, a quarter-mile from the marathon finish line. Cyclists finished between 5:30 a.m. and just before 7 a.m.

FULL COVERAGE: 28th Los Angeles Marathon

On some of the most congested streets in the country, bikes and cars often have a hostile relationship. The crash race is a rare chance to zoom through some of Los Angeles' biggest streets without battling cars.

The ride isn't strictly legal. But Wolfpack Hustle, an underground bike club, has built support within City Hall and the LAPD. Officers drove alongside the bicyclists during the race and did not try to arrest anyone.

"We’re literally out to have some fun," organizer Donald Ward, 40, who uses the nickname Roadblock when riding with Wolfpack Hustle. "How can you hate anybody for that?"

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L.A. Marathon: Cheerleaders enjoy, help create the spectacle

Photo: Ogechi Chieko, with purple hair, and Tiffany Porrata cheer on marathon runners in Echo Park. Credit: Adolfo Flores / Los Angeles Times

Despite getting only a few hours of sleep, two women were among loudest cheerleaders as marathon runners made their way through Echo Park early Sunday.

"Who rocks the house? L.A. rocks the house!" the pair chanted with the aid of a tambourine and green pompom.

Ogechi Chieko of Los Angeles, in pink shorts and purple hair, jumped up and pumped her hands alongside Tiffany Porrata of Echo Park.

PHOTOS: The 2013 Los Angeles Marathon

"I come out every year. I grew up in Echo Park," Porrata said. "Our street used to be blocked every year, we couldn't go anywhere but it was so much fun."

A flurry of young runners –- some wearing Students Run LA bright yellow T-shirts or holding American flags -- waved at Chieko and Porrata at the intersection of Park Avenue and Sunset Boulevard.

Next year Porrata said she plans to run the marathon for the first time.

FULL COVERAGE: 28th Los Angeles Marathon

"You gonna root me on, girl?" She asked Chieko.

"You're crazy," Porrata replied, laughing.

Marina Wingenbach, 46, of Monrovia was also cheering on the marathoners. She remembers how challenging her first L.A. Marathon was. So when she heard her nephew was running it this year she made sure to come out.

"Having someone there for you in the crowd can make all the difference," said Wingenbach, who has run three marathons.

As she waited for her nephew, Christopher Castaneda, she encouraged other runners by holding up a sign with green shamrocks that said, "Good luck and God speed."

The L.A. Marathon is a reflection of the city's diversity, said Michael Gray, 55, of Los Angeles.

The real estate agent had come to support two coworkers, who ran up to him when they saw him and gave him a hug.

"You have so many different cultures come together for one marathon," Gray said. "It's a great show of unity and we do it right."

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-- Adolfo Flores

Photo: Ogechi Chieko, with purple hair, and Tiffany Porrata cheer on marathon runners in Echo Park. Credit: Adolfo Flores / Los Angeles Times

L.A. Marathon: Young and old enjoy the fun

Beverlyhills
Along a stretch of  Burton Way where Los Angeles meets Beverly Hills, a couple of dozen people gathered to watch the L.A. Marathon on Sunday, some sipping coffee and others chit-chatting about their dogs.

They erupted in cheers as a pack of lead runners zoomed by, just south of the 16-mile marker. A three-man rock band played from the grassy median on an otherwise sleepy morning. One man stood in front of them swaying his hips to the music. A gaggle of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills police officers directed traffic away from the race course and guided runners on the correct path.

PHOTOS: The 2013 Los Angeles Marathon

Woodrow Clark, who lives just down the block in Beverly Hills, brought his 5-year-old son to see the race. The boy had asked to come after seeing signs about the event.

As Clark pointed out that the runners had just finished their sixteenth mile, the boy's eyes grew big.

"That's a long way!" he shouted.

FULL COVERAGE: 28th Los Angeles Marathon

"It's inspiring for someone that is 5 to see something like this," Clark said.

Clark said the race coming through this neighborhood is good for those who live in the area. The blocked roads, he said, encourage people to stay in the neighborhood and take in the event. "It really gets people out here on the street to see it," he said.

About 24,000 runners were expected to participate in the 28th Asics L.A. Marathon.

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

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-- Stephen Ceasar in Beverly Hills

Photo: As a band play a Maná song for the runners, Wonder Woman’s sign says “Los Angeles Welcomes the World!” Credit: Stephen Ceasar / Los Angeles Times

L.A. Marathon: Musicians provide soundtrack for runners, spectators

Gangnam

Wake up this morning at an ungodly hour (for a Sunday) to the sounds of bongos, a rock band, or the song "Gangam Style," blared on repeat? You're not alone.

As thousands of marathon runners make their way through the streets of Los Angeles, they're met with bands, music, and acts at every turn.

PHOTOS: The 2013 Los Angeles Marathon

They include an impressive array of drums at the top of the hill on First Street, and the Mary Lind Recovery Center Choir, which staked out a spot just before Mile 9 to play soul-thumping rock tunes and give high-fives to the crowds passing by.

The choir, made up of recovering addicts, has turned out to support L.A. runners and wheelchair drivers for 12 years, said choir director Trish Turner, who was wearing St. Patrick's Day clover earrings. This year, 25 people turned out, equipped with electric guitars, drums and keyboards.

They're singing songs such "Proud Mary," changing the lyrics from "rolling on the river" to "running down the boulevard" and "Johnny B. Good," during which they sing, "Go, go, go runners go."

FULL COVERAGE: L.A. Marathon

They showed up at 6:30 a.m. and will be there "till the last runners go by," Turner said.

Gary King, 49, of South Los Angeles, has shown up at the marathon with the choir for 10 years. He was lounging in a green camping chair as his fellow choir members made a line to cheer on runners. He didn't mind getting up so early on a Sunday, he said.

"We do it for them," he said, pointing to the crowds of sweaty people running by in yellow and green.

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Photo: An enthusiastic group at Mile 9 goes "Gangnam Style." Credit: Alana Semuels / Los Angeles Times

L.A. Marathon: Spectators inspired by runners

Lead runners

Late for class and with no runners in sight, Malika Gary told the woman standing next to her that she had to go.

It was going to be the second day in a row Gary was late to class at Mount St. Mary's College.

"You have to stay for the men! You have to!" pleaded Maria Jimenez, who had been standing at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue for the better part of an hour. "Do you see the trucks? They're coming!"

PHOTOS: The 2013 Los Angeles Marathon

About 100 yards away, the camera trucks and escort vehicles emerged on Hollywood Boulevard, the pack of the lead men's runners behind them.

"Its so cool!" Jimenez told Gary. "You're going to see the top runners."

"Well, I'm already late for class, I might as well stay to see it," Gary said with a laugh.

For Gary, the marathon was just a quick coffee break on her way to the Metro Red Line. She'd never seen it before even though her daughter had participated three times, riding on the back of her grandfather's bicycle starting when she was 2.

But for Jimenez, alone on the sidewalk in a winter coat, her hair pulled back and purse slung across her shoulders, the marathon is like an annual injection of inspiration.

"The one day something magical happens," she said. "It's seeing people do something that seems impossible."

Jimenez has been watching L.A.'s marathon for the last six years. She doesn't run or know anyone in the race, but said it tells her she "can do it."

"Its like a holiday for me," she said.

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Photo: Lead men's runners on Hollywood Boulevard. Credit: Joseph Serna / Los Angeles Times

L.A. Marathon: Fellow runners show support during toughest stretch

Photo: Runners pass under a bridge on Cesar Chavez on their way from Dodger Stadium to Santa Monica for the 2013 L.A. Marathon. Christina House / Los Angeles Times
The last few miles of a marathon -- where the runner already has, or is about to hit, "the wall" -- are often the most difficult.

So that's where some runners in the L.A. Marathon will get an extra boost of support Sunday. Fellow runners plan to jump in at the tail end of the race and offer their support by running side-by-side with participants as they try to finish.

It's "to give them that last little boost," said 28-year-old Crystal Poole of the San Fernando Valley, who was set up at the 22-mile marker in West L.A. along with another member of her running club and a friend.

PHOTOS: The 2013 Los Angeles Marathon

The three were holding signs that read: "Marathoners are sexy!!" "I'm Proud Of You, Perfect Stranger!" and "Free High Fives."

Poole, who has run a marathon before and was just out Sunday to show her support, said that companionship can be important, "especially this late in the game."

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Photo: Runners pass under a bridge on Cesar Chavez Avenue on their way from Dodger Stadium to Santa Monica for the 2013 L.A. Marathon. Christina House / Los Angeles Times

L.A. Marathon traffic: Headaches for drivers, bliss for others

As the L.A. Marathon made its way across the city, traffic is backing up in some areas.

The first leg of the race goes through downtown, and traffic maps are showing delays in surface streets near the route.

But a headache for drivers turned out to be boon for some pedestrians.

FULL COVERAGE: L.A. Marathon

"There's something empowering about crossing Sunset [without] looking in either direction first. Thanks LA City Marathon," Michael K. Weber wrote on Twitter this morning.

The 26.2-mile race runs from Dodger Stadium to Santa Monica.  Major streets along the marathon’s path that to be blocked off during the event include Sunset Boulevard (in downtown, Echo Park and West Hollywood), Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, Santa Monica Boulevard (in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and West L.A.),  and San Vicente Boulevard in Santa Monica. Caltrans also planned to close some freeway offramps.

The first closures were set to start near the stadium and lift on a rolling basis over the course of the day, starting at 9 a.m. on the eastern end of the route and ending late in the afternoon closer to the finish line. Some 101, 110 and 405 freeway entrance and exit ramps were also to be closed during the race. 

Send us your L.A. Marathon photos

The marathon began at 6:55 a.m. for racers in wheelchairs, 7 a.m. for racers with hand cycles and 7:25 a.m. for most other participants. 

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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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