I had every intention of getting up early this morning and heading downtown to watch the 24th annual running of the race. It was a cool, overcast morning, 59 degrees at the start of the women’s race, with the temperature reaching only 62 by the time winners crossed the finish line. I can’t complain that it was too hot but I did have a myriad of other reasons why staying in bed seemed like the best option this a.m.
Typically run on the first Sunday in March, the race was pushed back to Memorial Day as the result of a decree by City Hall officials who bowed to pressure from religious leaders concerned that access to houses of worship would be hindered by streets clogged with runners.
Still, I’m always interested in the event and I caught it live on the local NBC channel from the comfort of my bed. With more than 120 crewmembers, helicopters, 24 different camera positions, a fleet of side car motorcycles providing transportation for analysts, spotters and cameras covering the 26.2 mile race I probably got much better coverage of the event than if I’d actually seen it in person.
The course is a loop route that has generated the fastest times in the marathon’s history when it was last run in 2006. It started at 6th and Figueroa streets, ventured as far west as La Cienega Boulevard, and concluded at 5th and Flower streets wending through both neighborhoods and business districts.
Approximately 15,000 runners took part in this year’s race. Participants who have run multiple times in the marathon call the event a 26 mile party.
So who won? Tatiana Valeriyevna Petrova won the women’s race. The 26 year old from Cheboksary, Russia broke away from the pack after 19 miles. She surged past Ethiopia’s Amane Gobena to finish in 2:25:59. Another Russian, Silvia Skvortsova, was third in 2:28:35. Petrova had the third-fastest time in the history of the event.
Petrova, who finished fourth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Beijing Olympics in August, actually negative-split the race, running the first half in 1:13:27 and was faster in the second half, running 1:12:29.
Kenyan Wesley Korir who averaged 4:53 miles, won the men’s race, crossing in a course-record 2 hours, 8 minutes, 21 seconds. The twenty-six-year old Korir’s winning time shaved nearly five minutes off his personal-best of 2:13:53 from last year’s Chicago Marathon.
As a runner at the University of Louisville, Korir never finished higher than third place at the NCAA Championships. With his win today, Korir will take home $160,000 and a 2009 Honda Accord. He collected $20,000 for winning, $40,000 for clocking under 2:09 and $100,000 for becoming the first runner – male or female – to finish.
Congrats to everyone who participated.