LA Marathon held with enhanced measures to protect against coronavirus

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Thousands of runners took off from Dodger Stadium on Sunday morning for the 35th annual Los Angeles Marathon, but not without a word of caution from public health officials to take enhanced measures to protect themselves from the spread of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19.

For spectators and the roughly 27,000 who signed up to participate in the race, an increased number of hand sanitizer stations would be available along 26.2-mile course, which cuts through Chinatown and Hollywood before the finish line in Santa Monica.

"We are doing everything this weekend at the guidance of local, state and federal authorities, so runners will see increased hand sanitizer stations when they pick up their packet," said race organizer Dan Cruz. "We're encouraging people if you're not feeling well, this is probably not the year to run."

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health recommended those in attendance should engage in "social distancing" and keep at least 6 feet away from others to avoid the spread of illness.

Despite novel coronavirus fears, the public health department is not recommending the suspension of any large public events, including the marathon, director Barbara Ferrer said. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said There's no reason to cancel it.''

In addition, entries from runners with a mailing address in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Italy and South Korea would be given refunds and deferred to the 2021 race, officials said.
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