SANTA MONICA (CNS) – Novice marathoner Aleksandra Duliba of Belarus was the first overall finisher in today’s 28th annual Los Angeles Marathon, and Erick Mose of Kenya was the fastest man.
Dubliya set a record best for her country with her 2:26:08 finish. She set a blistering pace for most of the race, slowing only for a small hamstring issue in the 25th mile.
Her marathon victory ended a three-year winning streak by African women, which had been preceded by an 11-year streak of victories by women from the former Soviet Union.
Zemzem Ahmed of Ethiopia led the elite women through the first three miles, then was passed by Duliba in the fourth mile.
Ahmed regained the lead in the 11th mile, but was passed by Duliba in the 13th mile, who kept the lead on the rest of the 26-mile, 385-yard “Stadium to the Sea” course.
Ahmed finished second with 2:30:32, and Deena Kastor of Mammoth Lakes was third with 2:32:39.
On the men’s side, Mose finished in 2:09:44, leading a Kenyan sweep of the top three places. Julius Keter was second in, at 2:10:31, and Nicholas Chelimo was third with 2:10:43.
The elite women’s field received an 18-minute, 35-second head start for the ASICS LA Marathon Challenge, based on a formula involving the lifetime bests of the elite male and female runners. The bonus has been won by women runners six times and men runners four times.
The women’s and men’s winners each receive $25,000 and Duliba received an additional $50,000 as the first overall finisher.
The bulk of the capacity field of 24,000 runners from all 50 states and 61 nations left Dodger Stadium at 7:25 a.m. under partly cloudy skies with a temperature of 55 degrees, with the wind at 2-3 mph.
The race had its second sellout in its history which race director and chief operating officer Nick Curl credited to its communications strategy.
“Last August, when we started running full-page ads in running publications locally and nationally, we told our participants the race is capped” in advance for the first time, Curl told City News Service. “We’ve been consistent in that messaging.”
Curl said he likely could have registered 2,000-3,000 additional runners after the race reached its capacity March 7, “but I’m not going to go back and take more registrants than I have finish medals. It’s the wrong thing to do.”
The 2010 race, the first run on the “Stadium to the Sea” course, was also sold out, with registration ending at a record of 26,054 when Curl knew there would not be finisher medals for any additional runners.
The race also topped 24,000 entrants each year between 2004 and 2007.
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