Two Kenyans brought home the top prizes in the 32nd annual Los Angeles Marathon: Elisha Barno was the men’s winner, while fellow Kenyan Hellen Jepkurgat was the women’s winner.
Barno, 31, broke ahead of fellow Kenyan Daniel Limo at the end of San Vicente Boulevard, overcoming nausea near the end of the race to win in an unofficial time of two hours, 11 minutes, 51 seconds. It was his first appearance in the Los Angeles Marathon.
Limo, the 2015 winner who finished third last year, was second in 2:12:16, 24 seconds. Willy Koitile of Kenya finished third in 2:12:46.
This is the 14th time in the race’s history Kenyans have swept the top three spots in the men’s race.
The men’s race has been won by a Kenyan every year since 1999, except for 2011 and 2014, when it was won by Ethiopians. A U.S. runner last won in 1994.
Weldon Kirui, the 2016 champion, was fourth in 2:13:23. Kirui was seeking to become the first man to win the race in back-to-back years since Wesley Korir of Kenya won in 2009 and 2010.
Jepkurgat was the women’s winner at 2:34:23, and was 1 minute 50 seconds ahead of fellow Kenyan Jane Kibii. Angela Orjuela of Colombia was third in 2:36:20.
The winners each received $23,000, the runners-up $11,250 and third- place finishers $9,000. The top five male and female finishers received prize money from the $100,000 purse. Prize money was equal for men and women.
African women have won six of the last eight races, with runners from the former Soviet Union winning the other two times. A U.S. runner last won the women’s race in 1994.
The race was run on the “Stadium to the Sea” course from Dodger Stadium to Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard in Santa Monica for the eighth consecutive year. The race course was slightly altered in West Los Angeles this year: it bypassed the Veterans Administration hospital grounds and used Federal Avenue instead.
It drew more than 24,000 entrants from all 50 states and a race-record 63 nations.
City News Service
Image by James Weston