Friday, September 25, 2009

Sunday in Malibu

How many of you are into trail running? We love it, too, and Sunday some of us from the office will be out in Malibu running the Xterra Pt Mugu Trail Run. Having run parts of this trail, I can tell you that the scenery is spectacular. And they've got both 18K and 11K options. Why not come join us and mix up your training a little bit? There's not better way to try out this sport than at a fun event like this. See you there!


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Our new bigscreen TV

At Dodger games this season, I've often wondered what it would feel like to have a fun LA Marathon video playing on the big screen in left field. Well, I need not wonder any more. Thanks to our friends in Chavez Ravine, we're now represented at the Stadium. The course video is now playing live during games for all 50,000 spectators to see. Love the great energy when it comes on. Here are some photos from last Monday's game against Pittsburgh. Bert Whitson, the runner in the video, is our new Marathon celebrity!


Friday, September 18, 2009

How to shoot a course video

Gallo following Bert in Santa Monica. He's riding a skateboard, which went under the fence and nearly over the cliff at one point.

In front of the Troubador on Santa Monica Blvd.

Pat getting a shot of Bert on Hollywood Blvd.

This shot is a no-brainer.

"OK, Bert, just follow the yellow line in the middle of the road, and I'll scream at you if you're about to get hit by a speeding car."

I hope you've had a chance to see our video highlighting the new stadium to sea route. I'm proud of how it turned out, and it successfully captures the energy and spirit of the 2010 LA Marathon.

Here's how the project came together, in 10 not-so-easy steps:

1. Meet with race director Nick Curl and director of operations Stacy Embretson. They suggest some sort of video highlighting the new course. Great idea, I tell them. Inside I'm thinking, "I have NO IDEA what the concept of the piece should be." But my wheels are turning.

2. One week to go, and still no concept. But I meet with my friend Pat Solomon of Newhouse Films. He has some great ideas that we cover over breakfast, like the visual of the single runner heading down the middle of the route at 6:00 in the morning. I'm getting close, but I still need that conceptual framework to plug into.

3. Pat calls. Bad news. He's been booked to shoot a commercial, but he recommends his friend Chris Gallo to help. I call Gallo (most people don't even know he has a first name) and he's available. And he has an editor who can cut the piece. We're getting closer.

4. Now it's Thursday, and we're shooting on Sunday at 6:00 am, when the streets are completely empty and the light is beautiful. Still no overall concept. Just a runner in the streets won't cut it--not interesting enough. Stressing about it. Only four days to pull it together!

5. Another problem--I need just the right runner. Someone with a great stride. How to find that person? Of course, I call Eric Barron, coach of Track Club LA. He's out of town but recommends Bert Whitson. I find Bert's website and send him an email. Even though Bert is a successful investment professional, he agrees to devote his Sunday morning to running with us. I see his photos and recognize him immediately as the guy who consistently blows past me and many others in the track workouts at Santa Monica High. In fact, I've only ever seen him from the back.

6. I decide it's time to call my lifeline and get help on the concept issue. I get in touch with two longtime friends who are creative directors and brief them on the video. By the way, I ask, can you get me some ideas tomorrow? After some nervous laughter, they insist that it's not a problem and they'll come up with the goods. These guys always deliver, but I feel bad about waiting until the last minute and then pressing them to come up with something overnight.

7. It's now Saturday morning. The crew is locked, we've identified the locations we want to cover, but still no concept. Just a runner and the route. Is this all going to fall apart? Should I live with something simple and not overthink it? I can't push the shoot back any further because the website and registration are going up in a week. Our backs are already against the wall.

8. Saturday night. Making dinner for the family. My creative director friends call, "We've got an idea!" They propose the tagline, "A Landmark Every Mile." I immediately like it. Then they talk about structuring the video with some archival footage to emphasize the "Landmark" status of different parts of the course. They also talk about the "Mile 1" graphic, etc. So perfect. Exactly what I needed. We still will shoot Bert in the streets, but now we have a framework.

9. Sunday morning 6:00 am. Meet at the corner of Hollywood and Vine. Still a little dark, but we start shooting. Pat rallies and joins us with his camera. We rip through the shots: Stars on sidewalk, Pat and Gallo shooting from skateboards beside Bert, Mann's Chinese Theater, Sunset Strip, Rodeo Drive, back to Dodger Stadium and finally out to Santa Monica. A whirlwind, but we get a lot of good stuff. We somehow manage not to get arrested for skateboarding down the middle of all these streets.

10. The edit comes together nicely with great graphics supplied by the creative directors. Working even better than I had expected. We get it posted to Youtube barely 24 hours before registration opens. Whew!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Battle of the Network Stars 1978

Now and then someone will send me a Youtube clip that is just too good to pass up. My longtime friend Tim Stapleton in New Jersey just forwarded me this segment from the Battle of the Network Stars Running Relay in 1978. A celebrity mile relay. Priceless! How about Lou Ferrigno handing off the baton to Valerie Bertinelli? Or David Letterman on the opening leg? Or Billy Crystal going toe-to-toe with LeVar Burton on the anchor leg? And Howard Cosell is calling the race. Why can't we do this kind of thing anymore? Would stars show up for this? So entertaining.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Roadrunners are go!

Our 2010 LA Roadrunners program launched this morning in Venice. Wow! How about 750 runners there? That included the 85 Pace Leaders--wearing the orange shirts in the photos--and a huge crowd of people ready to change their lives by training for and completing the LA Marathon. If you were there, you saw what a terrific program this is. From the dedicated Pace Leaders to the sweet technical shirts to the electric group energy. This is a great way to get ready for next March. It's not too late to join the movement, so feel free to come on down to Westminster School in Venice next Saturday at 7:00 am. See you there!


Friday, September 11, 2009

LA Roadrunners - Training Begins This Saturday, 9/12

Join our official LA Marathon Training Program

Who says running isn't a team sport? Join the official training program of the LA Marathon and you'll never run alone. Join legendary runner Rod Dixon every Saturday for 26 weeks and we'll provide the coaching, expertise and enthusiasm to get from the couch to the finish line.

LA Roadrunners boast a phenomenal race day finisher's rate of 99%, and it offers both veterans and novices a chance to connect with fellow runners, train with a pace leader, receive expert tips on nutrition and technique, and take advantage of numerous race-day perks. Become an LA Roadrunner today and get the most out of your marathon experience.

LA Roadrunners meets at Westminster Avenue Elementary School in Venice, California. The 2009-2010 Training Program will begin on Saturday, September 12. Online registration is now open.

You can also register in person on Saturday. The LA Roadrunners registration process will began at 6:30 a.m. The sooner you get there to complete your registration process and pick-up your shirt, the sooner we can start the morning training activites. Come prepared to run as we will be doing a 3 mile training session.

LA Roadrunner Training Location
Westminster Avenue Elementary School
1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291

For more info about the LA Roadrunners, visit our website,

Hope to see you all tomorrow morning!

Find a training partner at

The LA Marathon is pleased to introduce you to a FREE social network website dedicated to runners and joggers. We recognize that training can be hard and in particular its very difficult to remain motivated, so why don’t you find someone to train with? It takes only a matter of minutes to sign up and it won’t cost you anything. The website caters for people of all ages and all running abilities – from power walkers to endurance athletes, you can find a buddy to suit you.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Running into friends on San Vicente

One of the great things about running on San Vicente in Santa Monica is who you "run into". For instance, this morning you might have seen Dodger owner Frank McCourt out running with team doctor Neal Elattrache and McCourt Group executive Howard Sunkin. Love that the owner of the LA Marathon is out putting in miles with his team.