October 1, 2009: On March 21, 2010, a group of runners in Los Angeles likely will be moving more smoothly, and likely much quicker, than traffic on the Santa Monica Freeway. On that day, the Los Angeles Marathon will celebrate its 25th annual run with new partners, a new route on a new date and with a new nickname: "The Stadium to Sea Run."
The L.A. Marathon, which was first held in 1986 as an offshoot of the hugely successful Summer Olympics in Los Angeles two years earlier, in 2009 was staged on Memorial Day and followed a route that was self-contained within the streets of downtown Los Angeles. In 2010, the Marathon, which was acquired by Frank McCourt, owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, in September 2008, will begin at Dodgers Stadium and work its way through several famous neighborhoods — including Hollywood and Beverly Hills — before concluding at the beach in Santa Monica. McCourt was instrumental in changing the race course, which had to be approved by the Los Angeles City Council and each district through which the race goes, as well as moving the date from May to March.
The newest addition to the roster is K-Swiss, which Marathon organizers said has signed a multi-year deal to become the official footwear and apparel partner. The fully integrated partnership would provide the Westlake Village, Calif.-based K-Swiss with "unique activations developed jointly around the Marathon's multiple properties, including the Los Angeles Marathon, the New Performance 5K, the Marathon Expo, and the LA Roadrunners training program," according to race officials.
Sponsors of the 26.2-mile race in 2009 included Honda/Acura, Springfield Water, Emerald Nuts, Gatorade, Clif Bar, Salonpas, Don Francisco's Coffee, Michelob ULTRA, New Performance Nutrition and Whole Foods Market. It was televised regionally by media partner KNBC-4 Los Angeles. More than 15,000 runners participated.
"Our partnership with the Los Angeles Marathon is a carefully-planned part of our commitment to the running market," David Nichols, evp for K-Swiss, said in a statement. "Both K-Swiss and the Los Angeles Marathon are storied entities that have retained a sense of fun. We look forward to bringing the best of the California lifestyle to the Los Angeles Marathon and its runners." K-Swiss has endorsement deals with triathlete Luke McKenzie, Anna Kournikova and tennis players including Mardy Fish, Tommy Haas and Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko.
K-Swiss and the L.A. Marathon will collaborate on the creation of a full line of licensed apparel that will be sold at retail, online, at the Expo, and on race day across various "pop-up retail" touch points. K-Swiss said it would also drive apparel sales through owned and managed stores across Asia, "providing both companies with a platform to reach an enthusiastic and growing cadre of runners overseas." During race weekend, K-Swiss will have a presence and at the Marathon's city block parties and Finish Line Beach Party.
"We couldn't be more excited about this partnership," Russ Pillar, president of the Los Angeles Marathon, said in a statement. "K-Swiss' commitment to quality product, innovation, and fun mirrors our own. We're confident that, working together, we're going to create great value for our runners as we do for one another."