2011 Honda LA Marathon Debriefing: Interview with Peter Abraham, by Larry Eder

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Markos Geneti walking on water, 2011 Honda LAM,
©2011 Rich Cruse/LA Marathon

The 23,352 finishers at the 2011 Honda LA Marathon, 97 percent of the starters, fought all that Mother Nature could throw at them, over the 26th running of the Honda LA Marathon, presented by K-Swiss.

On the men's side, Markos Geneti, in his debut marathon, decimated the Honda LAM course record, running 2:06:35. On the women's side, Buzenesh Deba, in her ninth marathon, battled Amy Hastings, in her debut, until 22 miles, when Deba made her move, finishing in 2:26:34, her personal best. Amy Hastings held on, finishing in second, and running 2:27:03.

RBR sent five questions to Honda LAM Race Director Peter Abraham to assess his race. This is what he sent us this morning.

rich cruse-large.jpg2011 Honda LA marathon winners, Markos Geneti & Buzunesh Deba,
©2011 Rich Cruse/LA Marathon

RBR, #
1.  How do you assess your day?

Peter Abraham:
Given the weather, the day went surprisingly well.  We addressed many of the issues from last year, although there are still many areas where we can improve.  I have to note the effort of the volunteers who stood out in the rain for hours to support our runners. The event could not happen without them.

race, JIm Safford-large.jpgElite Women's race, 2011 Honda LA Marathon,
©2011 Jim Safford/LA Marathon

RBR, #2.  LAM has a new course record...your thoughts?

Peter Abraham:
Marathons rarely go exactly how you expect they will. Wesley Korir came to town in the best shape of his life, and he knows this course better than anyone else in the field.  But it just wasn't his day. Then Markos Geneti blasted out at a seemingly impossible pace.
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and they run... 2011 Honda LAM,
©2011 Kristen Burns/ LA Marathon

At Mile 20, he was on pace for 2:05 flat, which would have been the fastest marathon ever run in the US.  Still, his 2:06:35 will raise the profile of our event.  No more can anyone say that we don't have a fast course.  The women's race was also really exciting, and the battle between Amy Hastings and Buzunesh Deba is one I won't ever forget.

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    LA 26,
©2011 Kristin Burns / LA Marathon

RBR, #3.  Tell us about the weather conditions.

Peter Abraham:
As we got closer and closer to race day, the forecast got worse and worse.  It was telling that I did a couple pre-race live interviews on The Weather Channel! 

hastings, deba, dibaba, by rich cruse-large.jpgBattling the miles and the rain, Amy Hastings, Buzunesh Deba, Mera Dibaba,
©2011 Rich Cruse/LA Marathon

It was not a question of IF it would rain, but WHEN.  As it happened the rain started immediately after the gun went off in the men's race.

Markos Geneti, by Rich Cruse-large.jpgMarkos Geneti runs 2:06;35, CR
©2011 Rich Cruse/LA Marathon

By the time the men were chasing the women down Hollywood Boulevard, conditions has deteriorated to what felt like a monsoon.  I was waiting at the finish line, and I can't recall ever seeing heavier rain in LA.  But marathons are all about overcoming obstacles and doing something heroic, and I believe all of our finishers felt an even greater sense of accomplishment that they would have in less trying conditions.

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Flea, Red Hot Chili Peppers,
©2011, Kristin Burns/LA Marathon

RBR, #4.  How many runners?

Peter Abraham: We had a total of 23,542 runners this year.  97% of our field finished the race, which is an amazing figure when you consider it was 50 degrees and raining.

SRLA, by Kristin Burns-large.jpgStudents Run Los Angeles,
©2011 Kristin Burns/LA Marathon

RBR, #5.  Where do you go from here?

 lonely man, kristin burns-large.jpgthe lonely moment,
©2011 Kristin Burns/LA Marathon

Peter Abraham: For us, it's all about improving the runner experience from year to year. We'll do a couple weeks of debriefing and then start planning again for next year.  There are so many moving parts in an event of this size that you never get it perfect.  But we listen to runner feedback and make changes accordingly.

cox, od, peterab, kristin burns-large.jpgJosh Cox (AR holder, 50k), Chris O'Donnell (actor, first time marathoner),
Peter Abraham, LAM Race Director,
©2011Kristin Burns/LA Marathon

For more on the Honda LA Marathon, we suggest www.lamarathon.com.

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Finish Line of 2011 Honda LA Marathon,
©2011 Kristin Burns / LA Marathon


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