Elisha Barno passed fellow Kenyan John Korir in the final 200 yards to win the 34th annual Los Angeles Marathon in the closest men’s race in the event’s history, while Askale Merachi of Ethiopia set a course record to capture first place in the women’s race.
Barno completed the 26-mile, 385-yard “Stadium to the Sea” route from Dodger Stadium to near the Santa Monica Pier in two hours, 11 minutes, 45.54 seconds. Korir was second in 2:11:52.29. Juan Luis Barrios of Mexico was third in 2:11:59.45.
Merachi was the women’s winner in 2:24:11.83, breaking the previous course record of 2:25:38 set by Edna Kiplagat of Kenya in 2010. Cynthia Jerop of Kenya was second among the women in 2:25:54.41 and fellow Kenyan Lucy Karimi third in 2:26:15.42.
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 the men’s race in 1994 — also the last year a U.S. runner won the women’s race.
African women have won eight of the last 10 races, with runners from the former Soviet Union winning the other two times.
The race has a purse of $100,000, with equal prize money for men and women. Barno and Merachi will each receive $23,000 for their victories. The runners-up will each receive $11,250 and the third-place finishers $9,000.
The top five male and female finishers will receive prize money.
A capacity field of more than 24,000 entered the 10th edition of the race to be run on the “Stadium to the Sea” course, expected to be the fourth-largest among this year’s U.S. marathons and 10th worldwide.
The race drew entrants from all 50 states and a record 66 nations, three more than the previous high, according to organizers.
In the wheelchair portion of the race, the men’s winner was Joshua Cassidy of Canada with a time of 01:31:47. Fellow Canadian Tristan Smyth was second at 01:38:33; Josh George of the United States was third at 01:39:48; Krige Schabort of the United States was fourth at 01:40:07; and Rafael Botello Jimenez of Spain fifth at 01:42:37.
Katrina Gerhard of the United States won the women’s wheelchair race with a time of 01:56:22, followed by Americans Jenna Fesemyer at 02:04:13, Michelle Wheeler at 02:10:29, Yen Hoang at 02:11:27, and Ivonne Reyas Gomez of Mexico at 02:20:49.
For the first time, the race had two honorary starters — Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner and Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols.
Both Turner and Pujols have foundations that were among the race’s 70 official charities.
The Justin Turner Foundation’s mission is to support homeless veterans, children (and their families) battling life-altering illnesses and diseases and youth baseball organizations.
The Pujols Family Foundation seeks to meet the needs of children and families who live with Down syndrome; improve the quality of life for impoverished people in the Dominican Republic through education, medial relief and tangible goods; and provide “extraordinary experiences for children with disabilities and/or life-threatening illnesses.”
What organizers designated as the race’s premier charities included Train 4 Autism, which raises awareness and funds for research and treatment of those living with autism and their families; Team World Vision, which provides clean water for children and families in Africa; and Angel City Pit Bulls, which is dedicated to creating a better future for pit bulls through education, public advocacy, adoptions and owner support.
More than half of the charities showcased their programs on the course including the Catholic Education Foundation; Kitten Rescue; Guide Dogs of America; the Widows, Orphans and Disabled Firemen’s Fund; the Concern Foundation, which raises money for cancer research; and the Hirshberg Foundation, which supports pancreatic cancer research, patients with the disease and their families.
Organizers expect the race’s charities to raise more than $4 million.
There were 50 entertainment areas, four featured entertainment centers and more than 50 charity cheer zones along the course.
Police reported no arrests along the marathon route, but 16 race participants visited the medical tents throughout the day, with six needing immediate care, according to officials. No further information was available on the injuries.