By AYUMBA AYODI
Kenyans upheld their dominance in long distance races as Daniel Limo and Olga Kimaiyo glided to victories in the men and women’s Los Angeles Marathon last weekend.
Limo fell behind countryman Edwin Koech after 20 miles but recovered to upstage the latter after barely two miles en route to his 2 hours, 10 minutes, 36 seconds victory which earned him Sh2.25m prize money. Lani Rutto of Kenya also outsprinted Koech to finish second for the second straight year, this time in 2:12:43. Koech came home fourth.
Kimaiyo led the women’s race from the 19 miles mark, leaving Russian Natalya Puchkova to clock home 2:34:10. Puchkova was second in 2:34:33 and Blake Russell was third in 2:34:57.
Kimaiyo became the second Kenyan woman to win the race after Edna Kiplagat in 2010 and Lorna Kiplagat in 1997. Lorna is now a Dutch citizen.
The feat by the Kenyans was enough to turn the tables on Ethiopians, who had also reigned to win both the men and women races last year through Gebo Burka (2:10:37) and Amane Gobena (2:27:37) respectively.
Limo, whose personal best of 2:08:39 was at his second place finish in the 2011 La Rochelle France Marathon, began as part of a pack of nine African runners and American Ryan Hall.
Hall, the American record-holder with the fastest personal best in the field (2:04:58), went out with the lead pack but dropped out after 14 miles.
“I saw the pace was so hight, but I didn’t know I could still catch up with him,” Limo said.
Kimaiyo was content to run with a pack of 12 that included Americans Sara Hall, who was making her marathon debut, Heather Lieberg, Becky Wade, Japan’s Mao Kuroda and Puchkova.
Courtesy of nation.co.ke