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Kenyan runner wins 33rd Los Angeles Marathon

SANTA MONICA — Weldon Kirui of Kenya was the men’s winner in the 33rd annual Los Angeles Marathon March 18, while Sule Utura Gedo of Ethiopia was the women’s winner.

Kirui, the 2016 champion, completed the 26-mile, 385-yard “Stadium to the Sea” course in two hours, 11 minutes, 48 seconds, nine seconds ahead of Gebresadik Adihana of Ethiopia.

Elisha Barno of Kenya, the 2017 champion, was third in 2:12.57.

Utura Gedo was the women’s winner in 2:33:52, six seconds ahead of countrywoman Tsehay Desalegn. Hellen Jepkurgat of Kenya, the 2017 women’s winner, was third in 2:34:03.

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.

African women have won seven of the last nine 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.

Kirui passed Adihana in the 19th mile in West Los Angeles and led for the rest of the race.

Utura Gedo took the women’s lead from Desalegn in the final mile.

The race, from Dodger Stadium to the Santa Monica oceanfront, has a purse of $100,000, with equal prize money for men and women. The top five male and female finishers also receive prize money.

The winners receive $23,000, the runners-up $11,250 and third-place finishers $9,000.

A field estimated by organizers at 24,000 began the race at Dodger Stadium just before 7 a.m. The Los Angeles Marathon annually has the fourth-largest field among U.S. marathons, and 10th largest worldwide.

There was one change to the 26-mile, 385-yard course from last year’s race. Miles 3-4 bypassed Little Tokyo. Instead, runners headed south on Los Angeles Street into the Toy District.

Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was the race’s honorary starter. The Justin Turner Foundation was among the race’s 75 official charities. Its mission is to support homeless veterans and children (and their families) battling life-altering illnesses.

Organizers expect the race’s charities to raise more than $4 million.

More than half of the charities showcased their programs on the course including the Special Olympics; the Concern Foundation, which raises money for cancer research; the Hirshberg Foundation, which supports pancreatic cancer research, patients with the disease and their families; the Widows, Orphans and Disabled Firemen’s Fund; Friends4Michael Foundation, which provides assistance for families of children who are fighting a brain tumor; the Asian American Drug Abuse Program; the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles; and Reading to Kids.

There were 50 bands, four entertainment centers and more than 50 charity cheer zones along the course.

This year’s field included as many as 144 “Legacy Runners,” people who have run all 32 previous editions of the race.

There also were nearly 3,500 at-risk middle and high school students from Los Angeles who participate in Students Run LA, an after-school mentoring and physical fitness program.

New to the marathon this year was LA Loyal, a program rewarding repeat entrants. Runners who have entered two or more consecutive years were given a distinctive black and gold bib. Runners who have run for five or more consecutive years also received a shirt.

Those who have run 10 or more consecutive years received a hooded sweatshirt and a medal featuring the same design as the original Los Angeles Marathon medal from 1986.

Cool air — 59 degrees — cloudy skies and moderate humidity aided the runners and reduced the amount of people who needed medical attention during the race.

Firefighters treated 72 people for medical problems during the race. Of those, 10 people were hospitalized, four of them with immediate, life-threatening medical issues.

In West Hollywood, an MTA bus on a marathon-caused detour scraped two parked cars on a narrow side street. Nobody was hurt in the mishap, on Cynthia Avenue at Palm Drive, a spectator said.


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