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Nearly One Year Later, Las Vegas Marathon Champions Have Not Been Paid
By David Monti
(c) 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
November 20, 2007

It was nearly one year ago when Kenyans Joseph Kahugu and Jemima Jelagat won their respective divisions of the New Las Vegas Marathon on Dec. 10, yet neither has received their prize money checks, according to the agents who represent them.

Kahugu is not only due the $15,000 winner's prize, but also a special battle-of-the-sexes bonus of $50,000 for finishing ahead of Jelagat who had a 17 minute and 52 second head start.  Jelagat is due $15,000.

"I have seven e-mails, from Aug-October indicating that the checks will be mailed shortly 'any day'," wrote Jelagat's agent Shawn Hellebuyck in an e-mail message to Race Results Weekly.  "They did pay the second place finishers, but not the winners.  I feel bad for coming forward with the story, but as you know Kenyans are not wealthy and a lot of their extended family depend on them."

Derek Froude of Posso International Promotions, the firm which represents Kahugu, confirmed via e-mail that his client had yet to be paid, either.

"There have been a few times in the past where we were assured payments were going to be made, but the check never arrived," wrote Froude.  "In one of these instances we were subsequently told that they elected to pay off all Los Angeles 2007 payments ahead of Las Vegas 2006."

The organizer of the New Las Vegas Marathon, Devine Sports, is also the organizer of the City of Los Angeles and Salt Lake City Marathons.  It took the company over a year to pay all the prize money from the 2006 City of Los Angeles Marathon in what Devine chairman, Chris Devine, told the LA Daily News was a "cash flow crunch."

An independent consultant who represents Devine to elite athletes and their agents, Larry Barthlow, confirmed in an e-mail message that the 2007 Los Angeles athletes had been paid, and he was confident that the debts at Las Vegas would be settled in short order.

"On behalf of Devine, I think most of the problems are behind them now," Barthlow wrote.  "They are caught up on SLC 2007 and LA 2007.  The outstanding debt with Las Vegas is being completely wiped out this week.  At the beginning of Las Vegas 2007, our books will be clean and it will be the start of new things for Devine Sports.  The company is committed to the sport.  They would like to thank all the athletes and managers that have been patient with them over the past year."

While payment periods very from event to event, a delay of nearly one year is very unusual.  Payments are typically made within 90 days, but can be held up if organizers are unable to receive drug testing results in a timely fashion.

"Neither of us expected it to drag out quite this long," added Derek Froude. "But, we have not given up yet either. In fact, Joseph plans to return Las Vegas to defend his title!"

The 2007 New Las Vegas Marathon is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 2.  Last year's event recorded 6,021 finishers in the marathon and 7,184 in the accompanying half-marathon.

 


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