Los Angeles Marathon held despite coronavirus concerns

LOS ANGELES, March 8 (Xinhua) -- The 35th Los Angeles Marathon was held Sunday with a record 27,150 entrants, despite some local residents' suggestion that this kind of large public events should be suspended due to coronavirus concerns.

The Los Angeles County declared a state of emergency over the disease earlier this week, but Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti insisted that there is no reason to cancel marathon or other events so far.

Los Angeles City Council Member Mike Bonin on Friday questioned the decision to run the race, saying on Twitter that "This is a big popular event, but I remain concerned & don't think it's worth the risk."

Special measures have been taken by the race's organizers and local public health department.

Entries from runners with a mailing address in China, Italy, South Korea and Iran were deferred to the 2021 race, according to Murphy Reinschreiber, chief operating officer of the McCourt Foundation, one of the organizers.

The organizers also increased the number of hand sanitizer stations at the starting line at Dodger Stadium, along the running course and the finish festival in Santa Monica.

Local public health department recommended that runners wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before the start of the race, do not shake hands with other participants or the public along the course, do not share water or food with other runners, and frequently use hand sanitizer provided along the course.

Meanwhile, the department recommended that spectators sick with even mild illness remain at home. Spectators were advised to engage in "social distancing," or at least six feet away from other people who are not family members or friends.

Spectators were also advised not to share food or water bottles, to avoid shaking hands, and to frequently wash hands or use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol, particularly before eating, after using the restroom and after blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing.