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Markos Geneti and Buzunesh Deba Set Records at The 26th Annual Honda LA Marathon

March 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, FEATURES

26th Annual LA Marathon 2011On March 22, 2011 LA Marathon LLC announced that a first-time marathoner and a 400-pound sumo wrestler highlighted a stunning 26th Honda LA Marathon presented by K-Swiss with a pair of spectacular performances. Theirs were only two of nearly 20,000 amazing stories on a wet and wild race-day.
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Marathon rookie Markos Geneti of Ethiopia, known primarily for his exploits on the track, broke away from a bunched field in the middle miles and elevated the race to world-class status with a sensational new race record of 2:06:35, the second-fastest time in the world in 2011. He shattered the previous race record of 2:08:24 by almost two minutes, and before catching a stomach cramp in the 21st mile, was on pace to run 2:04:49, which would have been the fastest debut marathon ever and the fastest marathon ever run in the United States. As it was, his 2:06:35 final time is the 14th-fastest marathon ever run in North America.

Kenya’s Nicholas Kamakya was the only one close to Geneti in the last half of the race, and finished second in 2:09:26, with countryman Laban Moiben third (2:13:12) and two-time defending champion Wesley Korir fourth in 2:13:23.

Geneti’s feat was all the more remarkable due to the conditions, with heavy rain throughout most of the race and gusting winds, which peaked near 60 miles per hour in the afternoon. Geneti took home the first-place prize of $25,000 plus a Honda EX Insight sedan, as well as $100,000 for winning the unique L.A. Marathon Challenge, finishing ahead of women’s winner Buzunesh Deba of Ethiopia by two minutes and 56 seconds after starting with a 17:03 handicap.
TO MALE RUNNERS:                                   TOP FEMALE RUNNERS:
Markos Geneti 02:06:35 (1st Place)           Buzunesh Deba 02:26:34 (1st Place)
Nicholas Kamakya 02:09:26                        Amy Hastings 02:27:03
Laban Moiben 02:13:12                                Mare Dibaba 02:30:25
Wesley Korir 02:13:23                                  Diane Nukuri 02:33:47
Jason Gutierrez 02:13:24                            Iuliia Arkhipova 02:33:55

Deba posted her seventh marathon win in nine tries and ran a personal best by 50 seconds in 2:26:34, the ninth-fastest women’s performance in race history. She broke away from American Amy Hastings, also making her marathon debut, in the final three miles. For her part, Hastings became the eighth-fastest American woman ever to run the marathon in 2:27:03, the third-fastest mark ever posted by an American woman running a first marathon. Ethiopia’s Mare Dibaba finished third in 2:30:25.
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But the elites were only a small part of the story on a brutal day for running, but during which an astonishing 97.0% of all those who started the race (20,537) actually finished. Temperatures ranged from 50-55 degrees during the day, with heavy rain and wind, especially near the finish in Santa Monica. Incredibly, the average finishing time in 2011 was 5:16:33, more than eight minutes faster than the weather-perfect 2010 edition (5:24:37), the first run on the Stadium to the Sea course. The new race-tracking system that sent intermediate and finishing times via text message, e-mail, Facebook and Twitter, used for the first time at a major marathon, distributed 153,460 messages during the race with nearly instantaneous delivery.

Among the finishers was American sumo champion Kelly Gneiting, who will submit his race results and supporting documentation to the Guinness World Records office for certification as the “heaviest person to complete a marathon.” He jogged and walked the course in 9:48:52, finishing in 19,626th place out of a preliminary total of 19,928 finishers, and cut more than two hours off of his 2008 marathon time of 11:52:11. He weighed in at 400.0 pounds at the start and 396.2 pounds at the finish.

“The people of Los Angeles are amazing,” he said afterwards. “There was lots of honking and yelling, ‘Go, you’re almost there’ by both marathoners and spectators.” Asked before the race why he was doing this, he said “I love the thought of showcasing what a 400-pound person can do; you don’t need to let that stop you from accomplishing anything.”

Also setting a personal best was Joe D’Amico of Palatine, Illinois, who “trained” for the event for the last 30 days prior to the race by eating all of his meals at McDonald’s, and raising money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. He finished 28th overall in 2:36:14, shaving 40 seconds off his old best from last year’s Twin Cities Marathon in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Charitable contributions made in conjunction with the race also set a new record, with $2.15 million already collected and more continuing to be received. Contributions can be made through March 31 via www.Crowdrise.com to any of the race’s 68 affiliated charitable organizations.

“The 2011 edition of the Honda LA Marathon was one for the record books,” said LA MARATHON LLC chief operating officer Nick Curl. He continue “Our runners, from Markos Geneti to Kelly Gneiting to everyone in between, would not be stopped by very challenging conditions, overcoming both the distance and the weather. They are all to be congratulated.”

“We are also very proud of our volunteers who worked a long day in the rain and cold, and of the public safety and transportation departments from Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, the Veterans Administration and Santa Monica, who were outstanding. Their professionalism, flexibility and rapid response made sure that our runners were just as well cared for after the race as they were on the course.” Mr. Curl concluded.

The 2012 Honda LA Marathon presented by K-Swiss is scheduled for Sunday, March 18, 2012.
About LA Marathon LLC:
They inspire athletes and connect communities. With thousands of volunteers, tens of thousands of participants and hundreds of thousands of spectators, the Honda Los Angeles Marathon presented by K-Swiss is one of the largest organized road races in the country. For more information, visit www.lamarathon.com.
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Photos Courtesy and (C) 2011 By Francois Palais for Diversity News Magazine, published by Diversity News Publications. All Rights Are Reserved.

Editor’s Note: Special Thank you to Francois Palais for covering our event on a wet and wild day at LA Marathon 2011.

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