24,000 runners, most of them non-elites but just plain folks like you and me fulfilling (for at least some of them) a lifelong dream and reaching a personal goal of theirs, where to just finish a 26.2-mile course is a tremendous feat.
The fact that some of them were dressed in Elvis and superhero costumes, running by the various volunteers, well-wishers and musicians along the route, added to the flavor of the occasion.
That was what was happening on Sunday morning on L.A.’s streets as the 28th ASICS Los Angeles Marathon was run, with the starting line at Dodger Stadium and the participants weaving through Los Angeles, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Westwood, West L.A. and ending in Santa Monica near the Santa Monica Pier.
The men’s race turned out to be a Kenyan sweep as the top three finishers came from that East African nation, led by Erick Mose, who finished with a time of two hours, 9 minutes and 44 seconds. Julius Keter, Mose’s best friend, crossed the finish line 47 seconds later to claim the runner-up position, and Nicholas Chelimo was third with a time of 2:10:43.
On the women’s side, Alexandra Duliba, a 27-year old from Belarus running her first marathon, made it a memorable one as she won the women’s race with a time of two hours, 26 minutes and eight seconds, nearly four-and-a-half minutes ahead of second place Zemzem Ahmed of Ethiopia.
Setting a national record for her country, Duliba, as well as Mose, collected $75,000 for their efforts with Duliba pocketing an additional $50,000 for finishing over two minutes ahead of Morse, winning the gender challenge as the elite women were given a 18:35 head start over their male counterparts.
“…by the end I was confident I’d run a good, fast time,” the Belarusian said afterwards. “I had a chance to look around at the trees and the houses. Everything was so beautiful,” she proclaimed, apparently talking about the various affluent Westside neighborhoods that the course ran through.
Deena Kastor, a 40-year old from Agoura Hills, was the only local and American to finish in the top three from either gender’s races as she completed the course in 2:32:39.
Among the wheelchair participants, Krige Schabort of the U.S. won that division for the fourth consecutive year, with Susannah Scaroni winning on the women’s side.