Run Oregon is taking a Runcation to the Griffith Park Trail Marathon in LA

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These are the temperatures for LA over the next week and a half. Things here in the Pacific NW haven’t been as bad this year as last, but I am already starting to yearn for warm temperatures and dry skies.

I am going to be in Southern California for work next month and was thrilled to see that the Griffith Park Trail Marathon (Half & 50k) is taking place at the same time. This event, as the name would suggest, is ran on trails in this famed Santa Monica Mountain park. At over 4300 acres, it’s one of the largest urban parks on the continent. Other cool attractions in the park are the Griffith Observatory, LA Zoo, and even the Hollywood Sign.

You can drive an hour from Portland in any direction and find any number of maintained (or unmaintained) trails to run on. It’s sort of a no-brainer. Even though I am mildly familiar with the park in general, I didn’t really know the details and find it unique and exciting for LA to have an “untamed and rugged” area of trails.

The out-and-back courses are not going to be easy by any means, but those areas of challenge and “pain” will be offset with some beautiful views. Runners will experience single track trails and double track fire roads (only about a half mile is pavement – a rare feat in this city). I will be running the half and plan to tackle about 1000 feet of elevation gain over the first half, and a total of 3200+ feet of gain and loss over the entire course (with 5 aid stations).

Runners will experience:

  • Lower Beacon Trail
  • Coolidge Trail
  • Riverside Trail
  • Mt. Hollywood Trail
  • Bird Sanctuary
  • Dante’s View

The Marathon (5676 total gain/loss) and 50k (6204 total gain/loss) will step things up a notch, yet incorporate an amazingly unique feature. The 26.2 is also an out-and-back that follows the same general course as the half. However, runners will continue past the half turnaround and actually get to run to the summit of Mt. Lee – DIRECTLY ABOVE THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN. How awesome is that?! Following the return to the finish, there will be a second out-and-back on some trails (Atrium, Upper Old Zoo, Mineral Wells) to complete the distance. There will be 9 aid stations along the way.

The 50k follows the entire marathon course and extends the distance with a short addition on Toyon Trail and Amir’s Garden Fire Road. There is an additional aid station on this route. Note that all runners in this distance MUST hit aid station 9 (mile 25) by 2pm to continue with this distance – no exceptions. Anyone getting here after 2pm will be automatically turned around and dropped to the marathon distance – not a bad consolation anyways.

Following the race, there will be free sandwich lunch and plenty of healthy snacks and refueling options.

Running in Griffith Park

LA county obviously has a large amount of races to attend (check out a recap I did of a race in Huntington Beach), but if you are looking to take a “runcation” and still want to get out of the city and away from road running, check out the rest of Keira Henniger’s events:

  • Sean O’Brien Races – February
  • Leona Divide 50 – April
  • Griffith Park Trail Half/10k – November
  • Ray Miller 50/50 – December
  • Paramount Ranch Trail Runs – December

Griffith Park Trail Race 50k/Marathon/Half (Los Angeles, CA)

When: Saturday, March 3, 2018

  • 6a – 50k
  • 7a – Marathon
  • 730a – Half Marathon

Where: Griffith Park Trail (Old LA Zoo Picnic Area)

Register: Online here;

  • $125 – 50k
  • $115 – Marathon
  • $90 – Half Marathon

About Matt Rasmussen (1599 Articles)
Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching the Olympics, sampling craft beers, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.
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