FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sensational Silver Anniversary Race The Largest LA Marathon Ever
Kenyans Wesley Korir and Edna Kiplagat Triumph
On First Stadium to the Sea Run
LOS ANGELES – March 23, 2010 – Running for the first time through a
sightseeing tour of the Los Angeles area, the largest field in history and
one of the largest spectator turn-outs ever created an electric atmosphere
for the 25th Honda LA Marathon presented by K-Swiss.
The race created multiple firsts for this event, initally run in 1986, with
the largest number of registrants ever, 26,054, and by far the largest
number of finishers ever, 22,361.
Race owner Frank McCourt's goal of connecting communities was achieved by
the new Stadium to the Sea course, which routed the Marathon outside of the
City of Los Angeles for the first time, starting at Dodger Stadium and then
running through West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, the Veterans Administration
Greater Los Angeles Healthcare Center and then finishing in Santa Monica.
Throngs of spectators, four and five deep in places, crowded both sides of
Ocean Avenue over the final mile to cheer on the runners, beginning with
the men's and women's champions, Wesley Korir and Edna Kiplagat, both from
Korir, who defended his 2009 crown, became the only the second man to win
back-to-back Honda LA Marathons, after countryman Stephen Ndungo in
2001-2002. He led most of the race, accompanied by a large pack of 12-15
runners that stuck together through the first 18 miles.
"I tried to push the first 6 miles to see who was going to break," Korir
told reporters after the race. "I realized that was not going to work, so I
changed tactics and decided to not push as hard until the end when I had to
kick and it worked. I was keeping an eye on the time. With the group being
so large, I did not worry about the Challenge and cared about beating the
guys. With 12 guys in the group, it was going to be tough at the end so I
decided to wait and see."
Korir broke free in miles 24 and 25, running 4:43 and 4:34 miles to break
away and ensure the 12th straight win by a Kenyan man in this race. He won
the $20,000 first prize and a Honda Insight EX sedan. His winning time of
2:09:19 was the third-fastest ever in the race's history, bettered only by
his own race record from 2009 (2:08:34) and Benson Cherono's mark of
2:08:40 from 2006. Countrymen Richard Limo (2:09:48) and Paul Samoei
(2:09:54) finished second and third.
In the women's race, Russian Silvia Skvortsova towed a pack of six through
the first 20 miles, with Kiplagat and Ethiopians Ashu Kasim, Teyba Naser,
Tiki Gelana and Alemitu Abera close behind. Kiplagat took the lead on the
Veterans Administration grounds during the 21st mile and pulled away on San
Vicente Boulevard in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles, with only Naser
giving chase and Skvortsova setting for third.
Kiplagat was the first to cross the finish line in 2:25:38, an improvement
of almost 25 minutes on her previous marathon best of 2:50:20, with Naser
(2:26:20) second and Skvortsova third (2:27:20) for the second year in a
With the men's race turning into a tactical duel thanks to the large pack,
Kiplagat was the first to the finish and won the unique Honda LA Marathon
Challenge, worth a bonus of $100,000 in addition to the first place prize
money of $20,000. In all, Kiplagat won cash and prizes of $168,100,
including a $25,000 time bonus. Naser also earned a time bonus of $10,000
for a total prize of $22,500.
Said Korir, "It was a beautiful race from Dodger Stadium to the sea. The
organizers did an outstanding job. Everything was just amazing. I really
got to take in everything I saw in the race today. Hollywood was crowded,
but Beverly Hills was breezy and nice. Veterans Parkway was pretty amazing.
People were shouting my name, even in Beverly Hills, which was great. I
hope to do it again next year."
The repeat win was especially sweet for Korir as he was on his honeymoon,
having wed his college sweetheart just one week before. In addition,
Korir's parents, who had never seen him run competitively, watched him on
television from his home in Louisville, Kentucky.
Kiplagat was not figured to be among the contenders, but said afterwards
that she "was not surprised because of my training and experience. After 21
miles, I tried to force the pace to see who could keep up with it, but
after 24 miles, I was lucky when I decided to increase the speed and I saw
the spectators on that part of the course. I heard music on the course and
tried to run to the rhythm."
A very competitive wheelchair race saw South African Krige Schabort become
the first person to complete the Stadium to the Sea course in 1:31:51 while
Amanda McGrory won the women's division in 1:56:35. Both wheelchair winners
received $2,500 for first place.
The top Masters (40 and older) finishers were Juan Ramirez of Santa Ana,
California in the men's division (27th in 2:39:32) and Linda Somers Smith
of San Luis Obispo, California, a former U.S. Olympic marathoner, who was
sixth in the women's race in 2:36:33.
Of course, these champions were only the leaders of an army of runners who
traversed the 26.2-mile course under near-perfect conditions, including a
cooling fog at the beaches in Santa Monica. Each had an individual story,
and thousands of runners also raised more than $1 million for charity,
including 60 organizations officially affiliated with the race.
Among the many stories on raceday:
Computer programmer Ravi Rajan of Los Angeles ran a double marathon,
starting from the finish in Santa Monica at about 1 a.m. and running to
Dodger Stadium, then turning around and finishing the Honda LA Marathon in
Lt. Jeremy Arnett, who organized a "shadow marathon" for soldiers at Camp
Taji in Iraq last year to raise money for a fallen soldier's family, came
to Los Angeles as a guest in 2010 and finished in 4:55:03. Race sponsor Don
Francisco's Coffee made a donation in his honor to the Special Operations
Ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes biked 500 miles from his Bay Area home to
Santa Monica for the race, then ran the race on foot in 4:08:45.
The second Marathon cheerleading competition was won by defending
champion Glendale High School, which won a $1,500 prize, followed by Marina
del Rey/Culver Middle Schools ($750) and Diamond Ranch High School ($500)
with an honorable mention to the Beverly Hills Tigers.
In addition, there were 232 "Legacy" runners who had finished each of the
previous 24 races at the starting line, completing a quarter-century of
running in Los Angeles, a total of 665 miles.
All told, in 25 years of operation, the race has had 394,624 finishers and
will pass the 400,000 mark in 2011.
"Sport has the power to be transformative," said LA MARATHON LLC president
Russ Pillar. "In 2010, we really saw the area come together as the race
connected Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica at
the personal, professional and governmental levels. Our 25th anniversary
race will always be remembered for the Stadium to the Sea course and for
the unprecedented enthusiasm of our runners and the hundreds of thousands
of people who came out to cheer them. We can't wait to get started on an
even better event for 2011."
Men's runner-up Limo, in his first visit ever to Los Angeles, summed up
what so many participants thought of the 2010 race: "The morning was
perfect. The fans were great and I thought the race was going to be mine.
The fan support was great. Please keep the morale up. The run to the sea
was great, [especially] to see balloons and flowers and the breeze from the
ocean was really great."