FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Defending Champ Korir Faces Tough Field In 2010 Honda LA Marathon
Elite field looking for fast times on new
Stadium to the Sea course on March 21
LOS ANGELES – March 15, 2010 – When Wesley Korir lined up at the start of
the Los Angeles Marathon last year, the idea of winning the race, setting a
new race record and winning $188,705 in cash and prizes wasn't even a
dream. He was just hoping to run a strong race.
But two hours, eight minutes and 24 seconds later, he'd achieved all three
and now looks forward to defending his title in Sunday's 2010 Honda LA
Marathon presented by K-Swiss.
"When I get in a race now, people say 'That's Wesley, he won in L.A. last
year,' said Korir, who lives in Louisville, Kentucky. " That is definitely
my identity now: the L.A. man. And I love L.A., I love this city. I love
what it has meant to me. I love to be associated with L.A. I love that
identity, to be known as the 'L.A. man.'"
Korir will face a determined field in the men's elite race, including the
fastest marathoner ever to compete in this race: Kenya's Richard Limo, who
has run 2:06:45, plus last year's runner-up, Tariku Jufar of Ethiopia
(lifetime best of 2:08:10) and third-placer Laban Kipkemboi of Kenya
Korir, Jufar and Kipkemboi ran a stirring race for 22 miles last year, with
Kipkemboi dropping back first, and Korir finally establishing dominance at
the 24-mile mark to win by one minute eight seconds.
The men's field is one of the deepest ever to run in Los Angeles: seven men
with lifetime bests under 2:10:00 and six more at 2:12:00 or faster. Kenyan
men have won this race 11 straight times.
Korir has studied the new Stadium to the Sea course, especially the
undulations of the first six miles of the route, going downhill from the
start at Dodger Stadium into Downtown Los Angeles in the first three miles
and then up 1st Street into Echo Park in the second three. "This is going
to be a very fast course," Korir noted. "2:07, or 2:06, I won't be
surprised. The thing about it, if you can overcome these 3-4 miles in the
beginning and if you can get yourself [into Hollywood] strong, all the rest
is a piece of cake. People are going to be rolling."
In the women's elite field, Russian women have won five consecutive Los
Angeles Marathons and 2009 third-place Silvia Skvortsova (best of 2:26:24)
is one of two Russians in the field. She placed third in last year's race.
The fastest time among women entrants belongs to Ethiopia's Ashu Kasim, who
ran 2:25:49 last year in Paris, ten seconds faster than last year's winning
time in L.A.
Looking for a new lifetime best is American marathoner Paige Higgins of
Flagstaff, Arizona, who has run 2:33:06 and competed for the United States
in the IAAF World Championships marathon in Berlin last year.
"This is the 'go for it' year," she told Runner's World Racing News, noting
"if the weather's good and everything, I think it's going to be a fast
course." She is looking to break through the 2:30 barrier, adding "I'm
still looking for time ... I want to make the jump to the next level,
where I'm competing on the world stage."
The men's and women's races are tied together by the Marathon's unique
Challenge, which awards a $100,000 prize to the first man or woman runner
to cross the finish line. The women will enjoy a handicap to start the
race, based on an average of the lifetime bests of the top runners. The
Challenge, originated in this race in 2004, is tied at 3-3 between men and
women over its six-year history. In 2009, Korir ran down women's winner
Tatiana Petrova in the 25th mile.
A prize purse of up to $400,00 in cash plus two Honda Insight EX sedans
with navigation system (MSRP $23,100 each) will be up for grabs this
Sunday. Prize money for the first five male and female finishers will
include $20,000 for first place, $12,500 for second, $10,000 for third,
$5,000 for fourth and $2,500 for fifth. In addition to the $100,000
Challenge prize, time bonuses of up to a cumulative total of $100,000 per
gender will be available for runners finishing in 2:08:15 (men) or 2:27:06
(women) or faster.
Star racers Aaron Gordian of Mexico and Amanda McGrory headline the
wheelchair fields, for which there will be a separate prize purse of $2,500
for first, $1,000 for second and $500 for third. Gordian and McGrory both
won in Los Angeles in 2009 and will be chasing the Nan Harmon Time Bonus
Award of $1,000 for a wheelchair race record.
The 2010 Honda LA Marathon presented by K-Swiss will be the first run on
the iconic Stadium to the Sea course that begins at Dodger Stadium, winds
through Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills,
then through the Veterans Administration Greater Los Angeles Healthcare
Center and into Santa Monica, finishing on Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica
Boulevard. The race will start with the wheelchair fields at 6:55 a.m.,
followed by the women's elite field at approximately 7:03 a.m. and the men
(and the rest of the field) at about 7:20 a.m.
The race will be broadcast in its entirety on KTLA 5 in Los Angeles and
seen nationally on Universal Sports beginning at 7 a.m. PDT. It will be
covered from start to finish on radio by AM 570 KLAC. All three outlets
will stream their coverage on the Internet as well.