The Heat Is On In, and For, L.A.

If you’re a baseball fan, Spring Training is merely a platter of crudités to hold you until the real feast of the regular season begins next month.

If college hoops is your preference, you’re still a week away from your TV watching smorgasbord of the opening rounds of March Madness, which will culminate in the Final Four crescendo just about the time of baseball’s first pitch.

But if you’re a fan of running, it might be hard to find a weekend that rivals this one, whatever aspect of the sport you favor.

Like track and field? There are indoor championships galore, from the New Balance High School Nationals at New York’s 168th Street Armory, to the NCAA Division I championships at the University of Arkansas’ Tyson Center, perhaps the best venue in the country to stage and watch a track meet.

If your taste tends more toward competition on asphalt, there’s no shortage of high-level races this weekend either.

It began this morning in Jacksonville, FL, where the Gate River Run crowned the USA 15km champions, with Ben True making it three in a row and Amy Hastings taking the women’s crown to prove her preparations for next month’s Boston Marathon are right on schedule.

LAMarathon

Tomorrow, the action is centered on the two biggest cities on either coast. Shortly after 7, the United Airlines New York City Half gets underway, sending more than 20,000 runners, including some of the world’s best, through the streets of Manhattan on a route that runs from Central Park in Midtown, down the West Side, beneath the Battery at the lower tip of the island and finishing at South Street Seaport on the Lower East Side.

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Hitting the Lotto, New York Style

Today is the day thousands of runners — 80,080, to be exact — have been awaiting on tenterhooks for several months. Beginning this morning, a lucky 14,326 of them will be selected in the lottery for acceptance into the 45th running of the TCS New York City Marathon, which will be run November 1.
NYRR-logoThat number is up by 56 percent from last year’s lottery acceptances, which numbered 9,170. Last year’s figure was somewhat lower than usual due to the higher-than-normal number of entrants who were guaranteed spots after the 2012 race was cancelled in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
The lottery used to be the primary way of gaining entry to the marathon, and in the pre-Internet days it was actually something of a rite of spring for runners to queue up to mail their entry forms on the first allowable date. In the intervening time, however, the number of lottery runners in the field, which is once again expected to total close to 50,000, has shrunk to less than a third, as other avenues of acceptance have gained popularity.
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