LOS ANGELES - (March 20, 2011) - At the 26th Honda LA Marathon on a rainy, windy Sunday morning, Markos Geneti of Ethiopia produced a debut victory, despite the inclement weather, with his 2 hour, 6 minute, 35 second impressive performance, shattering the event record by nearly two minutes and running the fastest marathon ever in California. Countrywoman Buzunesh Deba pulled away in the final miles from debutante Amy Hastings of Mammoth Lakes, Calif. to capture the women's crown in 2:26:34 to 2:27:03.
The event also featured the 8th Marathon Challenge, a gender competition in which the professional women had a 17 minute, 3 second headstart on the field. Geneti, 26, ended the Challenge the earliest in race history as he caught the leading women around mile 20 and earned a $100,000 bonus. The men and women are now tied 4-4 in this competition. Both race champions also won $25,000 and a 2011 Honda Insight EX sedan.
The women's race was a tight affair between Deba, Hastings and Mare Dibaba, also of Ethiopia, as the trio rattled off 5:40 miles over most of the Stadium to Sea course before Deba, 23, gapped Hastings during mile 24. Hastings, 27, who had battled back several times in the latter stages of the race, ran the third fastest U.S. women's marathon debut all-time and she is now the 8th fastest U.S. woman for 26.2 miles.
For the men, Geneti and Nicholas Kamakya of Kenya took control of the race at mile 8 and worked together to pull away from the field with a series of sub-4:50 miles. At mile 16, Geneti surged and went after the lead women and the $100,000 bonus. He was on pace to break the debut record of 2:05:50 by Evans Rutto of Kenya from Chicago in 2003, but a side stitch at mile 24 prevented that opportunity. Geneti's 2:06:35 is sixth fastest debut marathon of all-time and the second fastest marathon to-date this year.
Kamakya was the men's runner-up in 2:09:26, while Miguel Nuci of Turlock, Calif. was the top U.S. male finisher in 2:18:33, good for 8th overall. Two-time defending race champion and previous event record holder Wesley Korir finished fourth (2:13:23).
Out of more than 23,500 entrants, nearly 19,000 finished the 26th edition that started at Dodger Stadium and finished near the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica.
1) Markos Geneti (ETH), 2:06:35*, $125,000# plus 2011 Honda Insight EX sedan (MSRP: $23,100)
2) Nicholas Kamakya (KEN), 2:09:26, $12,500
3) Laban Moiben (KEN), 2:13:12, $10,000
4) Wesley Korir (KEN), 2:13:23, $5000
5) Jason Gutierrez (COL), 2:13:24, $2500
*event record (previous record, 2:08:24, Wesley Korir, 2009) and fastest marathon time in California
#includes $100,000 Marathon Challenge bonus
1) Buzunesh Deba (ETH), 2:26:34, $25,000 plus 2011 Honda Insight EX sedan (MSRP: $23,100)
2) Amy Hastings (USA / AZ), 2:27:03, $12,500
3) Mare Dibaba (ETH), 2:30:25, $10,000
4) Diane Nukuri (BDI), 2:33:47, $5000
5) Iulia Arkhipova (KGZ), 2:33:35, $2500
For full results and more, go to: www.LAmarathon.com