FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jennifer Norris
WHO WILL WIN "THE CHALLENGE?"
L.A. Marathon Issues Challenge to Elite Athletes
First Person Across Finish Line Wins an Additional $50,000
LOS ANGELES, November 18 - Throughout marathon history the story lines have
been the same, the men's race and the women's race, and never shall they
meet. Now, for the first time at the marathon distance, the 2004 Los
Angeles Marathon will match the elite women against the elite men in a
unique handicap format that will award the first person across the finish
line a bonus of $50,000.
Under "The Challenge," the elite women begin first, approximately 20
minutes ahead of the men and say "catch us if you can". Once the time
differential has passed, the elite men take off with the rest of the L.A.
Marathon field and try to beat "The Challenge" posed by the elite women.
The first person to break the finish tape will earn a $50,000 bonus over
and above the traditional first place prizes of $25,000 and a Honda Accord
EX V6 (valued at $24,300).
"Handicapping an elite field like this is unprecedented at the marathon
distance," said Los Angeles Marathon President Dr. William Burke. "It
promises to add a special ingredient to the marathon experience for the
millions of spectators watching alongside the course, as well as compelling
drama for our NBC4 and Telemundo 52 viewers."
The time differential will be based on a number of factors to insure that
both genders receive a fair opportunity to compete equally in this unique
format. Among the considerations will be the time difference between the
men's and women's winning times in the previous 18 L.A. Marathons, and the
most recent performances of the elite field in attendance.
During the race, all elite runners will receive per mile updates as to the
margin separating the men and women in order to plot their strategy. This
format will give spectators and viewers a new element of suspense as the
runners charge to the finish line.
"I've always thought the sport needed to do something to kick-start a
rooting interest in the outcome of the elite competition," said 18-year
veteran of the L.A. Marathon, broadcaster Toni Reavis. His column on the
Runner's World Daily Web site sparked interest in the format this summer.
"It's exciting that LA has picked up that challenge. I think everyone will
want to see how this race turns out."
Televised live on NBC4 and Telemundo 52, the 19th City of Los Angeles
Marathon presented by Honda takes place Sunday, March 7, 2004. Marathon
sponsors include American Airlines, City of Angels Medical Center, Emerald
Nuts, The Gas Company, NBC4, Telemundo 52, Saucony and Sparkletts. To date,
more than 350,000 runners and walkers have participated in the L.A.
Marathon. For more information and to register for the race, log on to
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