WESLEY KORIR IS BIG WINNER AT L.A. MARATHON
By David Monti
(c) 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
Former University of Louisville athlete Wesley Korir was the big winner
at today's 24th Los Angeles Marathon, walking off with $160,000 in
prize money and time bonuses plus a 2009 Honda Accord EX-L V6 sedan
worth $28,705. His unofficial winning time of 2:08:24 was also an
"To tell you the truth I was not expecting to win at all," Korir, a
Kenyan, told broadcaster Ed Eyestone on the local NBC affiliate's
television coverage. With a 2:13:53 personal best he was only seeded
14th. "It's a miracle," he added.
Korir not only overcame a well-balanced men's field, but 1:58:16 into
his race he caught women's leader, Russian steeplechaser Tatiana
Petrova, in the race's 24th mile. The elite women had been given a
16:57 head start and organizers offered a $100,000 "Challenge" bonus
for the first athlete to cross the finish line. Korir also dropped his
only close men's rival, Tariku Jufar of Ethiopia who would finish
second, just before he passed Petrova in the 24th mile.
Petrova won the women's division in 2:25:59 (unofficial), winning
$40,000 in prize money and time bonuses plus the same Honda Accord
Korir will receive.
The victory for Korir was especially sweet considering what happened to
him in his marathon debut at last October's Bank of America Chicago
Marathon. Korir was not part of the race's invited field, and started
with the masses five minutes behind the professionals. Running alone
in hot conditions, he passed all but eight of those professionals and
ended up running the fourth-fastest time of the day when his five
minute handicap was subtracted: 2:13:53. But because he wasn't part of
the invitational race he was ineligible for prize money, although the
race later provided him with an undisclosed recognition payment.
Under new management after the failed ownership by Devine Sports, the
Los Angeles Marathon moved from their traditional early March date to
Memorial Day Monday this year, despite warnings of hot weather. In
that regard, the race fared well as the "marine layer" of clouds
blanketed the region, keeping temperatures comfortably in the low 60's
F (about 16C).