First-time marathoner Bayelign Teshager of Ethiopia was the men’s winner of Sunday’s 35th annual Los Angeles Marathon while Kenyan Margaret Muriuki was the women’s winner.
The 20-year-old Teshager, who lives in Boston, made multiple surges in the last two miles to win in two hours, eight minutes, 26 seconds. This was the third time since 1999 a non-Kenyan won the men’s race. Ethiopians also won in 2011 and 2014.
“As the race progressed, I became more energized,” Teshager said through a translator. “I was feeling some discomfort, but my excitement to win overtook the pain.”
John Langat was second in 2:08:43 while fellow Kenyan Wilson Chebet was third in 2:09:16.
Muriuki broke away from Almaz Negede of Ethiopia around mile 18. She completed the 26-mile, 385-yard course in 2:29:27. The race was Muriuki’s second marathon. The 33-year-old won the 2019 Honolulu Marathon in December.
“The competition was good and they pushed me,” Muriuki said.
Negede was second among the women in 2:32:28. Jane Kibii, a Kenyan who lives in Auburn in the Sacramento area, was third in 2:36:04.
African women have won nine of the last 11 races, with runners from the former Soviet Union winning the other two times.
A field estimated by organizers at more than 25,000 started the race shortly before 7 a.m. at Dodger Stadium. Runners and wheelchair and hand cycle racers then headed through downtown Los Angeles, Echo Park, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood, Brentwood and Santa Monica.
The race drew a record 27,150 entrants from all 50 states and a record 78 nations. The previous record for entries was 26,054 in 2010.
The previous high for nations with runners entered was 66, set last year.
The 2020 entrants included 131 runners who competed in all 34 previous editions of the race.
There is traditionally about a 10% drop off from the number of entrants to the number of runners, Dan Cruz, the marathon’s head of communications, told City News Service.
There were 25,500 entrants and 20,608 finishers in 2019. The race has had the fourth-largest field among U.S. marathons each year from 2016-19.
Nearly 32% of the 2020 entrants were first-time marathoners, Cruz said.
The race has a purse of $100,000, with equal prize money for men and women.
The top five male and female finishers receive prize money.
The winners each receive $23,000, the runners-up $12,000 and third-place finishers $7,000.
Emily Clarke of Malibu was the top American female finisher, finishing fourth in 2:40:15. She received a $2,000 bonus as the top American female finisher in addition to the $4,000 she received for the fourth-place finish.
Brendan Gee of San Diego was the top American male finisher, finishing ninth in 2:21:47. He also received $2,000.
Americans Paul Pilkington and Olga Appell were the 1994 Los Angeles Marathon winners, the last time an American won the race.
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