Palm trees along streets bordered by gleaming urban cityscapes combine with boardwalks and piers that walk out into the waves of the Pacific Ocean crashing onshore are the setting in Long Beach at the later winter running of the city's Hugs & Kisses Marathon & Half Marathon, part of a series of small road and trail race running events staged year-round by the California-based Charlie Alewine Racing.
Mostly fast and flat and run entirely on paved surfaces along the roads that run alongside Long Beach's Colorado Lagoon and Alamitos Bay, the out-and-back triple-loop race starts and finishes at the city's Marine Vista Park, an 18-acre urban park that looks out onto the waters of the marina and nearby Marine Park, whose beaches are a popular daytime spot for locals and visitors alike.
From there, the half marathon and the full marathon follow the same route, starting first north from Marine Vista Park out onto Appian Way for a counter-clockwise run along the roads that run around the Colorado Lagoon, one of the last remaining urban wetland areas in California and a refuge for a wide variety of fish and waterfowl wildlife.
After the stretch that takes runners along Park Avenue, 6th Street, Monrovia Avenue, Haines Avenue, Vermont Street and Orlena Avenue, runners then head back along the western edge of Marine Vista Park and then head south toward East Appian Way, where they turn left and begin the roughly two-mile straightaway stretch of the race that takes them past Marine Park to the turnaround point at the end of East Appian Way near the waterfront.
Next, runners then head back along the route they've just run back up to the starting line area at Marine Vista Park. Those running the half marathon then repeat the same route two more times, while those running the full, 26.2-mile marathon make the loop an additional five times. As noted above, the race is a small running event, limited to 25 runners.
The Hugs & Kisses Half Marathon is one of a series of races staged throughout the year by Charlie Alewine Racing, and also includes January's California Gold Rush Marathon & Half Marathon
and February's Run The Dove Marathon & Half Marathon
Weather & Climate
Located along the beachfront areas about 25 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, the city of Long Beach typically experiences mild to moderately cool weather conditions in the late winter season, and usually sees its wettest weather on average in the first three months of the year. In February, the city's average monthly temperatures range between 68°F and 48°F, while rainfall totals average just over 3 inches for the month.
$50 for the half marathon
$60 for the full marathon
To reserve your spot in the winter 2011 running of Long Beach's Hugs & Kisses Marathon or Half Marathon, register online at Active.com
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