FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VETERAN LOS ANGELES MARATHON
BROADCASTERS FIGURE JUFAR
AND PETROVA AS FAVORITES ON MONDAY
LOS ANGELES, California, May 24, 2009 – Ethiopia's Tariku Jufar and Russian
Tatiana Petrova are the favorites to win the 2009 Los Angeles Marathon in
the consensus of opinion among the experts who will broadcast Monday's race
on NBC4-Los Angeles.
Analyst Toni Reavis, who has ben a commentator on all 23 previous Los
Angeles Marathons, men's lead-car reporter Ed Eyestone and KABC radio
analyst Tom Feuer all picked Jufar, who enters with the fastest time in
field (2:08:10). Feuer, Reavis and women's lead-car reporter Juli Henner
all felt that Petrova's strength as a steeplechaser on the track makes her
the likely winner.
Looking for surprises, Eyestone, himself a two-time U.S. Olympic
marathoner, noted the presence of 2005 World 5,000-meter champion Benjamin
Limo of Kenya. "Here's a guy with incredible stats on the track side, who
is now beginning the marathon side; running 13 times under 13 minutes for
the 5K is world-class speed. He was with the leaders through 20 miles in a
previous marathon, until blisters ruined his chances. So if he can find
shoes that fit, I think he can really be a factor. On the women's side,
Reavis cited Amane Gobena of Ethiopia. "She has won only one marathon.
And she has the same coach as Jufar and her training partner [Dire Tune]
was last year's Boston Marathon winner and the loser by one second this
year. So Gobena at 2:32:00 is not part of the calculation for the
[Challenge] differential. But like Limo, she can be the one who catapults."
The entire panel agreed that the Los Angeles Marathon Challenge, in which
the first person across the finish line – male or female – will win a bonus
of $100,000, will be a significant factor in the race. Kyestone pointed
out that for the men, "with the Challenge, you have to pay attention to the
splits from the women, if you want to win that $100,000. The Challenge
infuses that chase pack with some adrenaline without the use of a
"Women have a disadvantage because they can't see the men coming. They can
use the whiteboard, but it is more intuitive. They usually won't get that
until mile 3 or 4. Once the men start catching the elite women as they fall
behind [the women's leader], then you have an idea of what you have to do
Ditz noted that "The Challenge changes everything. You have the normal
three phases [of a marathon – start, middle, finish], but you have to
manage the Challenge and not get too excited or expend too much energy."
Reavis added that by creating a fast early pace, "the women can put
pressure on the men. And the men don't know how many women are in the
[lead] pack. Men have a tendency, when they get close, to run faster
without realizing it, and losing energy."
Asked about their forecast of the likely winning times, Eyestone thought
that for the men, "Close to 2:09:00 flat would be superb," and Henner
foresees a women's mark "under 2:27. I don't know how far under because of
the weather." Reavis added that "the Russian women need qualifying times to
make their [World Championship] team. So they need fast times; they might
be shooting for 2:25 or 2:26."
While Reavis and Ditz will be at the finish line and Eyestone and Henner on
the course, Rosenbloom will be indoors. "We'll be in a small radio booth
with Tom (Feuer) from the L.A. Central Library. We'll try to capture what
the McCourt Group has been able to accomplish; whenever you do something on
the radio, you have to capture the public's imagination. So the radio
broadcast's motto is ‘The Ultimate Challenge in Running' to paraphrase what
the Indianapolis 500 radio broadcast's slogan was, ‘The Greatest Spectacle
"Geoff Nathanson will do updates; we'll have interviews from the host
position, as well as a young lady doing interviews on the course. Dave
Marcus will be in the lead car following the guys. Sara Eckart will be with
the women when it starts and then will do some additional reports from the
Library. Our goal will be to paint the picture. We are great for the
people in attendance, especially those coming for the first time. We'll be
able to update them on KABC on the splits and all the other info."
Television commentators Reavis and Ditz represent the entire history of the
Los Angeles Marathon, Ditz winning the first two women's races and Reavis
having been a commentator on all 23 previous editions. "This race is
incredibly close to my heart," said Ditz. "When I ran the first race in
1986, I knew what the 1984 Olympic Games meant to L.A., which was a major
transformation for the city. It was not an easy task, someone had to come
up with a course and we were unsure of the organization. I wanted to be a
part of something lasting to the city, that could bring the same
togetherness to L.A. that the Olympics had done. I've seen the race go
through the ups and downs. Winning that first marathon was the highlight of
my career at that time. And to continue to be a part of that tradition is
a great gift to me."
For Reavis, he sees the Los Angeles Marathon as an event which had
broadened the sport. "The marathon was basically an East Coast event. Then
the L.A. Marathon began in 1986, we essentially brought marathon racing to
the West, excluding the Chicago Marathon in 1982. As it turned out the
original owners made this a citizen's race. There was top-end competition
and big money but as the years went on, it descended in quality. It was a
major event, not a major marathon.
"L.A. is a world city along the lines of the World Marathon Majors Cities –
Berlin, Chicago, Boston, New York and London. L.A. has more assets than
any of those cities and with this year and especially next year's edition,
we will begin to see a brand new era which will elevate it on the world
Having seen every Los Angeles Marathon since inception, Reavis was clear
That he's excited about the future. "The L.A. Marathon is back. we've got
great fields. We are back to the old 6th-and-Fig(ueroa) and 7th-and-Flower
course. The athletes are excited about it and we really have a good
competition, which is a way to bring L.A. together."