2011 LA Marathon Redux: Geneti leads 23,542 across finish line! release, note by Larry Eder

Thumbnail image for la26kristin burns5x8-large.jpg
LA 26, courtesy of  Kristin Burns/ LA Marathon

Charles Dickens is the writer who penned, " it was the best of times, it was the worst of times."Somehow, 23,542 finished the marathon on Sunday, in torrential rains. For some, crossing Brentwood was like a clearing a steeplechase pit.
Here is the official release from the LA Marathon team. Nicely done, it highlights a great race and a tremendous effort by the field. 97 percent of starters finished, and the average time was nearly ten minutes faster than last year!

Congrats to all who ran, all who watched an all who helped! RBR hopes to see you all there in 2012!


Geneti, Gneiting set records in wet and wild Honda LA Marathon

Despite a winter storm, amazing 97% of all starters finished the race

LOS ANGELES, March 22, 2011 - 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.

Thumbnail image for Markos Geneti, by Rich Cruse-large.jpgMarkos Geneti, courtesy of Rich Cruse/LA Marathon

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.

flea, by Kristin burns-large.jpgFlea, bass player for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, photo by Kristin Burns/LA Marathon

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.

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. "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.

 lonely man, kristin burns-large.jpgthe lonely man, photo by Kristin Burns/ LA Marathon

"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."

finish line, by kristin burns-large.jpgFinish Line, 2011 Honda LA Marathon, photo by Kristin Burns/ LA Marathon

The 2012 Honda LA Marathon presented by K-Swiss is scheduled for Sunday, March 18, 2012.

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