Jared Ward and Blake Russell win 2015 USA Track & Field Marathon Championships
LOS ANGELES (March 16, 2015) – With temperatures at the finish reaching a record-high, the 30th edition of the ASICS LA Marathon yesterday hosted a near record number of participants with 22,333 runners crossing the finish line after a pair of Kenyan athletes won the men’s and women’s elite fields. Ogla Kimaiyo captured top honors in the women’s field, winning the event in 2:34:10, while Daniel Limo (2:10:36) used a late surge to best competitors, securing the third-fastest time ever recorded for the “Stadium to Sea” course.
The women’s race opened with 12 athletes running as a pack, remaining side-by-side through the half marathon mark. Natalya Puchkova (RUS) battled Kimaiyo for the lead throughout the race but Kimaiyo pulled ahead at the 19 mile mark and held her lead through the finish. Puchkova crossed the finish line shortly thereafter with a time of 2:34:33, followed by American runner Blake Russell who made the podium in 2:34:57.
Limo’s compatriot Lani Rutto (2:12:43) matched his 2014 ASICS LA Marathon finish of second place as runner-up of this year’s race, edging out third-place winner, American Jared Ward (2:12:56).
Within the annual race, 73 American elite athletes vied for the 2015 USATF Marathon Championships and record prize purse of $150,000. Russell, a 39 year-old California native, was the first American woman to cross the finish line in 2:34:57, making her the second-oldest woman to win the USATF National Championship title. Heather Lieberg, who led for much of the first 10 miles, was the second American, finishing in 2:35:32. She was followed by Brianne Nelson with a time of 2:36:08.
Within the men’s American race, Jared Ward set a personal record of 2:12:56 to win the 2015 USATF Men’s Marathon Championship, while also reaching the podium in third place overall. Matt Llano (2:16:13) and Mike Morgan (2:16:56) rounded out the top three men.
Fifty-five-year old Scott Parson (1:37:13) captured the men’s wheelchair race, while Santiago Sanz of Spain won the quad wheelchair race. American Shirley Reilly raced her way to her fourth Los Angeles women’s wheelchair championship.
Many of the American elites who completed in the 30th edition of the ASICS LA Marathon will return to Los Angeles next year when the city hosts the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Men’s and Women’s Marathon on February 13, 2016.
The race also saw 178 Legacy Runners who have completed all 30 iterations of the ASICS LA Marathon since the event commenced in 1986. These athletes were highlighted in honor of the 30th edition of the race with a commemorative start before the elite men’s and general field race began.
“On behalf of the entire team at LA MARATHON LLC, I want to congratulate all the runners who completed the 2015 ASICS LA Marathon,” said Tracey Russell, Chief Executive of LA MARATHON LLC. “Thank you to all of our city agency partners who worked in collaboration with us at the ASICS LA Marathon to enable runners to accomplish a personal achievement by crossing the finish Line in Santa Monica. It wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our 6,000 volunteers who truly made race day better for our participants.”
Rounding out the 2015 festivities, a special relay consisting of Southern California Olympian and Paralympians and Special Olympics World Games athletes joined together to create a Unified Relay team to participate in the 2015 ASICS LA Marathon. The team of Special Olympians and Olympic legends had an honored role in the race by starting before the general field. The team, captained by Cobi Jones, member of ’92 Olympics U.S. National Team and local LA Galaxy legend, consisted of 13 pairs of athletes, a Special Olympian who ran side-by-side with an Olympian for approximately two miles of the 26.2 mile “Stadium to Sea” course.