FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Korir Goes for Third Straight Honda LA Marathon Title
Potent men's elite field will challenge "Mr. L.A." on March 20
LOS ANGELES, March 3, 2011 - Even in a city of dreams, no one saw Wesley
Korir coming. And now he's a star.
Virtually unknown despite achieving All-American status at the University
of Louisville, the 28-year-old Korir has become "Mr. L.A." by winning both
the 2009 and 2010 editions of the Honda LA Marathon presented by K-Swiss,
and will try to go where no one has gone before and become a three-time
winner of the race on March 20.
But he will be challenged by a powerful field that includes two runners
with lifetime bests more than 30 seconds faster than his personal record of
2:08:24, and five runners who have run 2:09:44 or better.
The fastest time in the 2011 field belongs to veteran Kenyan marathoner Ben
Maiyo, 32, who finished second in the 2005 L.A. Marathon and has a personal
best of 2:07:09, also from 2005. He's battle-tested, having represented
Kenya four times in international competition in the 10,000 meters and has
finished second in two World Marathon Majors races, in Chicago in 2005 and
Boston in 2006.
Not far behind is 32-year-old Patrick Ivuti, with a lifetime best of
2:07:46, also from Chicago in 2005. A Kenyan Olympian in 2000, he finished
fourth in the 10,000 meters final in Sydney, missing a bronze medal by just
0.69 seconds. He's been piling up wins in the marathon, having won in
Chicago in 2007, Honolulu in 2008 and 2009 and in Prague in 2009 in
2:07:48, just two seconds off his best.
Korir will also have to deal with two other Kenyan stars, Benson Barus
(2:08:34) and Nicolas Kamakya (2:08:42). Barus ran second in both of his
2010 marathons, in Rome (2:09:00) and Chunchon, South Korea (2:08:53) and
Kamakya debuted in the HYK Marathon in Beijing in 2009, rolling to a
2:08:42 second-place finish.
Then there are the unknowns, notably Ethiopia's Markos Geneti and Kenyan
Shadrack Biwott, well-known to American distance-running fans from his
All-American efforts at the University of Oregon.
Geneti has run a speedy 13:00.25 in the 5000 meters and is no stranger to
Southern California, having competed in the adidas Track Classic at The
Home Depot Center in 2005 (winning the 3000 m), 2006 (won the two-mile) and
2008 (third in the 5000 m). Biwott was a three-time All-American in cross
country and track at Oregon from 2007-09 and ran a fast 61:40 half-marathon
in 2010 as he moved to road racing; marathoning runs in his family as his
old brother, Duncan Kibet, ran the second-fastest marathon of all-time
(2:04:27) in 2009.
But Korir will be the favorite, trying to become the first three-time
winner of the race. Two other men - Canada's Art Boileau in 1987 and 1989
and Kenyan Stephen Ndungu in 2001-02 - have won twice and five different
women have won L.A. twice, beginning with American Nancy Ditz, who won the
first two in 1986 and 1987.
And he thinks the race can be fast. "I think on this course, if you can
train well, and you can be smart about it, I think it can be a very fast
course," he said during a trip to Los Angeles last January. "I think you
can get under 2:07."
He'll be chasing the winner's prize: $25,000 in cash and a new Honda
Insight EX sedan with navigation (MSRP: $23,100), as well as trying to win
the unique Marathon Challenge, which rewards the first runner to cross the
finish line - man or woman - with a $100,000 bonus. And he has added
"One thing that the world doesn't know about me is I need a Macintosh
computer." he said. "My agent [Karen Locke] has offered me a deal: she told
me if I run 2:07 in the marathon, she is going to buy me a new Macintosh.
That's what I am working for now...my computer now is not working well,
so that's what I am going for."
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