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Marathon Crash: Race off, but slower-paced ride officially on

Photo by Mikey Wally via Flickr Creative Commons

Don Ward, organizer of bicycling group Wolfpack Hustle and the annual Marathon Crash race, says that the race that had been canceled is back on as of 8 p.m. Friday night — sort of. Instead of a race, it's set to be a "fun ride" at a slower pace. And with a police escort.

Ward tells KPCC that he was working to organize a new route with the Los Angeles Police Department on Saturday, and it'll be shorter than planned — 20 miles instead of the marathon's 26 miles. They may not go downtown, but may still ride down Hollywood Boulevard, Ward said. The reason, Ward said, is that there's a "nasty hill" downtown that would spread the ride out too much, and that going downhill would encourage people to ride faster.

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While there's something happening once again, Ward also says he doesn't want people to show up. He's telling everyone who wants to race fast to stay home and sleep, but thinks people will ride no matter what, so he's going out with police to help make sure people ride slowly and safely.

"I'm trying to rally those who do show up to show the city that we can be a unified group," Ward said.

Ward says he has mixed feelings about how things went down, having what he described as years of cooperation with the LAPD on the race and then dealing with being effectively shut down five days ago.

He hopes that this will help get the annual race back on track on 2015 after a demand for permits from the city earlier this week derailed this year's race. Ward says he plans to meet with the city on Monday.

Ward said that Damian Kevitt will be at the front of the ride. Kevitt is a rider who was injured in a hit-and-run while biking near Griffith Park and was dragged by a minivan for 600 feet, leading to his leg being amputated. Ward said he hopes everyone respects Kevitt and Ward, and that they'll keep the ride fun while refraining from riding fast.

Riders are scheduled to meet at around 4 a.m. and will be looking to get off the road by 5 or 6 a.m., Ward said. There will be rolling street closures for the reconfigured ride early Sunday morning.