Overview: One of Los Angeles's mega-races, just in time for Halloween. I'd heard some negative comments about RnR races in the past, and I was very impressed by how well this event was run. Everything was well organized, well staffed and well thought out.

When: October 26, 2014.

Downtown LA. The race began and ended in the LA Live/Staples Center area. .

Course access:  Easy as pie. The Pico station on the Blue/Expo lines was a two-minute walk. There were also a lot of buses in the area, since it was Downtown LA and all. 

Why: The ASPCA.

Number of Participants: by my estimate, about 30,000 spread between the half-marathon and 5K, which left at the same time.

Pre-race:  This race had one of the things I hate most; a mandatory packet pickup the day before. The PPU was at the expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and it ran both Friday and Saturday. There wasn't a line and it was fast and seamless. The expo had some interesting booths, and the ASPCA had a huge, and very welcome, presence.

Course: Through Downtown LA, along Figueroa toward USC and the Coliseum, and back. 

Post-Race:  Runners picked up their medals and then walked through a "sterile area" where they could get food and drink. Water, Powerade and chocolate milk were all available, as were energy bars, chips and fruit. The area was set up in such a way that only runners had access to the food, which was very welcome. After leaving the finishing area, runners could cross over to the LA Live area where there were several booths with freebies, a shop, and a stage for the concert. There was also a beer garden for those who wanted to indulge at 9am. Each runner received a ticket for a free beer with their bib. I passed on this.

Chip timing: A disposable shoe tag. There were mile markers and a finish line clock.

Shirt:  A black Brooks tech shirt with a Halloween flair. I actually think that the 5K made out better than the half-marathon here; they received the same design, but in a sickly off-white.

Swag: Rock N' Roll is known for its elaborate and city-specific medals, and this race was no different. The medal featured a spiderweb, the LA skyline, and a witch riding on a guitar/broomstick. There was also a drawstring backpack provided at packet pickup.

Would I Run this Race Again: Yes!

Overview:  A night race through Downtown Los Angeles, the New Year's Race featured a half-marathon, a 5K, and various children's races. Presented by Jive Live, who also put on the Venice Christmas Run and the LA Marathon, this was a well designed, enjoyable event with dedicated, friendly volunteers. Participants had a rare opportunity to run through the streets of DTLA without cars.

What is also impressive about this race: last year there were complaints on Facebook about various aspects of the race...and the race directors listened. This year's event was sleeker, more organized and better! Way to go, guys!

When: January 4, 2014.

Downtown Los Angeles, starting at 7th and Grand and ending at Pico and 11th, by the L.A. Live complex and the Staples Center.

Course access: Downtown L.A. is probably the best-connected area in the city, and public transportation was a breeze. The buses were re-routed due to the street closures, but the trains, which run underground at that point, were absolutely fine. The course start was right by the 7th Street Metro Center station for the Expo and Blue line trains; the finish line was a five minute walk to the Pico station (again, Expo and Blue lines). I heard through the grapevine that traffic was a nightmare for those who chose to come by car.

Why: Officially, none, but A Place Called Home had some involvement with the race.

Number of Participants: About 1350 in the 5K; about 4500 in the half-marathon.

Pre-race: Packet pickup was at the Expo at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. The RDs extended the Expo hours from 2013 and the race also started earlier, but there were still two hours or so to kill between the close of the Expo and race time.

Course: The 5K went through Downtown LA, mostly along Broadway (near the historic cinemas). Many of the historic theaters on Broadway, including the Los Angeles, were all lit up. The 5K course this year differed in that runners stayed on Broadway for a longer stretch, instead of veering off down abandoned streets. The race finish was also closer to the Pico Metro station. I greatly preferred that, yes I did.

In response to last year's complaints there were also many, many signs advising 5K runners as to their turnaround point.

Chip timing: Yes, by Gemini, with a chronotrack tag on the bib.

Shirt: 5Kers received a nice tech shirt. I liked it a lot, except for the fact that the tech fabric, combined with the white color, make it very see-through. I preferred the black shirt in 2013. Maybe they will use alternate colors on alternate years?

Swag: A backpack. Unfortunately it wasn't as nice as last year's, since it just had a hashtag on it. Runners also received a reusable glow bracelet. Unfortunately there was nothing else in the bag; the race was using those useless and annoying "virtual gift bags." The medal was lovely, however, and had a touching tribute to the Boston Marathon bombing victims.

Expo: At the Millennium Biltmore. It was fairly small, and they did have vendors selling glow items this year. However, it was also very heavy on the timeshare/vacation club folks, and they tend to be very aggressive. I didn't enjoy the Expo.

Would I Run this Race Again: Yes!

Overview: One of the largest walks for women's cancer research and awareness, this event, held in both New York and Los Angeles, draws crowds in the 40,000 range. Despite the hordes of people, it's reasonably smoothly run, friendly, and enjoyable.

When: May 11, 2013.

Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, venue for the 1932 and 1984 Olympics.

Why: The walk raises money for the Entertainment Industry Foundation. The EIF is nearly 70 years old and funds major initiatives for cancer and diabetes treatment, awareness and research, among other projects. The Revlon Walk in particular supports initiatives for breast and ovarian cancer.

Course access: The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is served by numerous Metro bus lines, but a lot of them were on detour for the walk. The best way to access the course via mass transit was the Metro Expo line train, which ran without interruption.
Number of Participants: About 40,000. Yes, you read that correctly.

Pre-race: This year, the EIF sent out bibs about a month ahead of time to everyone who had pre-registered. There were several opportunities to pick up t-shirts and goody bags in advance, as well. I thought that this really simplified things. The registration and t-shirt pickup lines at the race were a zoo.

Runners: Women of all ages, shapes and sizes were well represented, as were cancer survivors. Men, families and older individuals and friends were also present. There were large contingents of fundraising and company groups, tribute groups, etc. While there are a handful of serious runners, this is really an event for walkers.

The course was very crowded and everyone moved at a leisurely pace. It was a day to have fun, not to try to beat the clock. This was sometimes problematic. There were bottlenecks at various areas, and the crowd came to a dead standstill upon entering the Olympic Stadium.

If you're thinking of running or racewalking this event, well, forget about it. If you're thinking of walking with a friend or relative who is not sure they can handle a 5K this is perfect, since there's no pressure to finish quickly and it's very non-intimidating.

Chip Timing: None. This was really a fun run/walk, with the majority of participants choosing to do the latter.

Shirt: A white shirt with red EIF/Revlon logo and lettering. The shirts for this race are always kind of bland but this year's was an improvement.

Swag: A goody bag with some coupons, an energy bar, a pink bracelet and a Revlon nail polish. Every finisher got a gold medal on a red ribbon. Now, being in the Olympic stadium and getting a gold medal...one could enjoy that. :) There were also special gifts for cancer survivors, including colorful hats at the start line, roses at the finish, and a photo tent.

Expo: Some health awareness companies, hospitals and cancer foundations came to the Revlon Walk, as well as some other fun and interesting vendors. What bothered me about the expo was that some companies were already packing it in by 8:30, before the race had even started.

Would I Run this Race Again?


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