From Dodger Stadium to Century City, 26,000 runners take to the streets for Los Angeles Marathon

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Kenya dominated Sunday’s 39th Los Angeles Marathon, taking the top two spots in the men’s field and the top spot in the women’s race in the second-largest field in the event’s history.

Dominic Ngeno won the race in an unofficial time of 2 hours, 11 minutes, while Stacy Ndiwa captured her second consecutive women’s title in 2:25:28.97.

Ngeno barely edged his countryman Cosmas Kiplimo, who finished second in 2:11:05.55, while Volha Mazuronak of Belarus was second for the women with a time of 2:25:48.65.

The marathon reached its capacity of 26,000 entrants Friday, trailing only the 2020 race, which had 27,150 entrants, organizers said. The race has topped 20,000 entrants 22 of the past 25 years, with the only exceptions coming in 2009, when the race was run on Memorial Day for the lone time, 2021, when it was delayed until November because of restrictions prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, and 2022 when it returned to its traditional March date.

Dan Cruz, the marathon’s head of communications, attributed the rising fields to the popularity of social running clubs throughout Greater Los Angeles and the participation of the disc jockey and music producer Diplo in last year’s race.

According to Cruz, 40% of the field will be running their first marathon while 56% have not run the Los Angeles Marathon before.

The race drew runners from all 50 states and 70 nations, three more than last year, Cruz said.

Runners in the Los Angeles Marathon are getting ready for Sunday’s race, picking up their numbers and race packets on Friday. Participants are running the 26.2-mile course for various reasons.

The runners range in age from 12-year-old seventh-graders running as part of the Students Run LA program to 87-year-old Claude Bruni, a retired auto repair shop owner.

The 26-mile, 385-yard race began at Dodger Stadium at 6:30 a.m. with the wheelchair racers. The hand crank racers started at 6:35 a.m., followed a few minutes later by the women’s elite field and then the elite men’s field at 7 a.m.

Mayor Karen Bass was the honorary starter.

It was about 49 degrees for the start of the marathon, with marine layer clouds and wind from the northeast blowing at five to 10 mph, National Weather Service meteorologist Kristan Lund told City News Service.

From Dodger Stadium, runners were headed through downtown Los Angeles, Echo Park, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood and Brentwood then back through Westwood to Century City, with the finish line for the “Stadium to the Stars” course on Santa Monica Boulevard between Avenue of the Stars and Century Park East.

The course is unchanged from 2023, the first time since 2020 the course has not changed, Cruz said.

Joan Benoit Samuelson, the winner of the inaugural Olympic women’s marathon during the 1984 Los Angeles Games, will hold the finish line tape.

When the first runner crosses the finish line shortly after 9 a.m. it will be around 55-57 degrees, Lund said.

The temperatures will be in the 50s when most of the runners are on the course, Lund said.

The elite women started 17 minutes ahead of the elite men for the Marathon Chase, with the overall first finisher receiving a $10,000 bonus. The time difference was “determined by a close assessment of the makeup of this year’s professional fields,” according to veteran running analyst Toni Reavis, who has been a commentator on each Los Angeles Marathon telecast.

Map of the Los Angeles Marathon 2024 course

Map of the Los Angeles Marathon 2024 course that highlights landmarks and care stations for runners along the route.

Los Angeles Marathon

The difference was initially going to be 17 minutes, 15 seconds, but adjusted after Belay Asefa Bedada of Ethiopia, who had the fastest personal best time among the men’s field, had to withdraw after contracting typhoid.

The chase was part of the marathon from 2004 to 2014, with women winning seven times and men four. It was discontinued in 2015 when the race served as the USA Marathon Championships. It was revived in 2022 with women winning both times since its revival.

The men’s and women’s winners will each receive $6,000, the second- place finishers $2,500 and third-place finishers $1,500. The men’s and women’s wheelchair winners will each receive $2,500.

The men’s race has been won by a Kenyan 21 times since 1999, with Ethiopians winning the other four, including 2023 when Jemal Yimer won. Yimer opted to run in Sunday’s Seoul Marathon instead of defending his title. A U.S. runner last won in 1994.

African women have won 11 of the last 14 races, including in 2023 when Kenyan Stacy Ndiwa won in a personal best two hours, 31 minutes. Ndiwa will defend her title.

A U.S. runner last won the women’s race in 1994.

The field includes 95 legacy runners — 84 men and 11 women — who have run all 38 previous editions of the race. Golden Stars were be placed along the course in their honor as a precursor to the Los Angeles Marathon Hall of Fame.

The late Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge will also be honored during Sunday’s race. A uniquely designed Golden Star was presented to his family during Saturday’s news conference and the race’s Mile 7 has been renamed as the Tom LaBonge Mile.

Mile 7 begins on Glendale Boulevard, just before Santa Ynez Street, in Echo Park, includes the Angelus Church, and ends on Sunset Boulevard, just before Silver Lake Boulevard.

There were more than 3,500 runners from Students Run LA, an after- school mentoring and physical fitness program for at-risk middle and high school students.

The race has 92 charity partners, with runners raising more than $3 million.

Copyright © 2024 by City News Service, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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