In a hard fought battle, 31-year old Kenyan Daniel Limo won today’s L.A. Marathon in a time of 2 hours, 10 minutes, and 35 seconds, distancing himself the final three miles from teammate, Lani Rutto (2:12:41).
The event’s start was pushed up thirty minutes due to warm conditions with 26,000 starters facing temperatures in the seventy-degree range.
Early on, the men’s lead back consisted of seven runners including Kenyans Edwin Koech, David Kiyeng, Simon Nojorge, Milton Kiplagat (leader at Miles 5, 7, and 9) and American Ryan Hall along with Limo and Rutto. Hall, coming off a long training block in Ethiopia, fell off fast pace early on, just past 5 miles. The leaders moved forward to hit six miles in 29:56. Hall would later drop out of the race just over an hour into the race.
The leaders continued to drill miles of 4:46 (15), 4:46 (19) but it was all Limo from here to the finish. After his break, he slowed to splits of 5:18, 5:03, and 5:05 for miles 22-24 respectively due to the muggy conditions now nearing 70 degrees. Limo was able to push away from Rutto in the final 5K and hit the tape in 2:10:35, running fairly even splits (1:05:10, 1:05:25) He was greeted by a cooler sea breeze of San Vicente Blvd. down to the finish on Ocean Blvd. in Santa Monica
The women’s pack stuck together through slow miles with American’s Sara Hall, Blake Russell, Heather Liebergand, and Brianne Nelson sharing with work with Russian Puchkova and Kimaiyo among others. At one point, American Brianne Nelson of Colorado tried to put some distance on the pack on a downhill leading to Sunset Blvd. but was reeled back in by Puchkova and Kimaiyo leading the rest of the pack
Albany, New York’s Jodie Roberston, a lanky new comer, showed to join the rather pedestrian lead pack before 20-miles and it seemed it could be a sprint to the finish for the entire women’s field with miles over six-minutes becoming a trend. Hall fell off pace on Sunset and staggered into a debut 2:48 marathon. In fact, the American title was not decided until the final miles when Russell used Japanese runner Mao Kurada to pull into third place overall and make her way down Ocean Blvd. as the U.S. Marathon Champion.
American Jared Ward slid into third place overall and following his 1:01 1/2 marathon at Houston early this year in January, closed to finish in 2:12:56, a big P.R. for the Utah native for his first U.S. Marathon title.
Kimaiyo (winner of the Jacksonville Marathon and runner-up at Amsterdam) continued to break the field down and separated hersef from Puchkova once and for all at Mile 23. She grasped her yellow water bottle as she survived the pain of the final miles for a victory in 2:34:06.