Kenyans Elisha Barno and Hellen Jepkurgat won the men's and women's titles at the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday. Barno pulled away from 2015 winner Daniel Limo of Kenya in the final mile of the race, crossing the finish line near the Santa Monica Pier in 2 hours, 11 minutes, 51 seconds.
Limo was timed in 2:12.13. He finished third last year in the 26.2-mile race that begins at Dodger Stadium and finishes at the Pacific Ocean.
Willy Koitile of Kenya finished third in 2:12.43. Defending champion Weldon Kirui of Kenya was fourth in 2:13.21.
Jepkurgat comfortably led the pack throughout the women's race before breaking away in the 13th mile to win in 2:34.24, nearly 2 minutes ahead of fellow Kenyan Jane Kibii, who finished in 2:36.14.
The winners earned $23,000 each.
As a student in Kenya, Elisha Barno made a three-mile run between home and school four times a day, counting a quick trip for lunch. He routinely ran nine miles roundtrip to participate in extracurricular sports.
Barno spent countless weekends hunting gazelles and rabbits with his dogs.
To him, running was like breathing.
So it was little surprise Sunday that the indefatigable Barno didn’t break stride in the 25th mile of the Los Angeles Marathon, despite getting sick along the way. He later explained his sports-drink concoction had him feeling queasy.
“It was a lot of pain, but I had to be patient,” said Barno, 30, who pulled ahead of countryman Daniel Limo in the final mile and glided down Ocean Boulevard in Santa Monica all alone, winning in 2 hours 11 minutes 51 seconds.
“I was making calculations in my head,” Barno said. “When I saw the ocean, I thought, ‘No way I’m not going to win this race. I’m not letting go.’”
The back-and-forth battle between Barno and Limo was so intense, they covered the 24th to 25th miles in 4:40, the fastest stretch of the race. Said Limo, who finished second in 2:12:13: “My legs were giving way, but I had to finish.”
Limo, who won the L.A. Marathon two years ago and finished third last year, is the first men’s competitor since 2002 to place in the top three in three consecutive years.