Wesley Korir wins the 2009 Los Angeles Marathon (organisers) © Copyright
General News Los Angeles, USA

‘One sandwich’ Korir takes LA title in 2:08:24

Los Angeles, USAKenyan Wesley Korir a recent graduate of the University of Louisville, combined favourable weather conditions and a patient attitude to shatter the Los Angeles Marathon record with a time of 2:08:24. Tatiana Petrova of Russia took the women’s race in 2:25:59.

The 26-year-old Kenyan Wesley Korir slashed five minutes and 27 seconds off his previous personal best and improved the Marathon’s existing race record of 2:08:40 set by countryman Benson Cherono in 2006.

Ethiopia’s Tariku Jufar was second in 2:09:32, with Kenyan Laban Kipkemboi third in 2:10:29.

Korir's pay day amounted to $20,000 and a car for the victory plus $100,000 for winning the unique Los Angeles Marathon Challenge for finishing first overall, passing women’s winner Petrova  in the 24th mile. And finally, his record-setting time was also good for a time bonus of $40,000.

Korir came to prominence only in 2008 when he was fourth in last autumn’s Chicago marathon in 2:13:53, quite a feat considering he entered that race not as an elite runner but as part of the mass race through which he had to battle his way to get into contention.

Yesterday’s LA winner still keeps his feet firmly on the ground at least in his outlook on life. The mark of the man is the kind and generous nature he exhibited ahead of his big race win and the substantial prize that came with it. On Sunday (24) having bought his usual pair of tuna sandwiches planning to eat one that night and then one after the race on Monday, on exiting the shop and seeing a homeless woman asking for help he gave her one of the sandwiches, and ate the other.

In the women's division contest, Tatiana Petrova running for a spot on the Russian national team in the World Championships marathon to be held in Berlin, Germany in August, surged in the final six miles to break Ethiopia’s Amane Gobena and take the title in 2:25:59.

Gobena finished in 2:26:53 and Russia’s Silvia Skvortsova was third in 2:28:35.

The fast loop course, run in helpful Memorial Day conditions under a morning cloud cover and temperatures that ranged from 59 to 63 degrees Fahrenheit during the elite race, saw two of the four fastest men’s times in LA race history and two of the top seven times in women’s LA history. And both the Kenyan men and Russian women extended their winning streaks in the race to 11 years and five years, respectively.

Los Angeles Marathon XXIV attracted 17,307 participants.

Organisers for the IAAF


1. Wesley Korir Ken 02:08:24
2. Tariku Jufar Eth 02:09:32
3. Laban Kipkemboi Ken 02:10:29 
4. Mulugeta Wami ETH 02:10:49
5. Negari  Terfa 02:10:53
6. Benjamin Limo Ken 02:14:38

1. Tatiana Petrova Rus 02:25:59
2. Amane Gobena Eth 02:26:53
3. Silvia Skvortsova Rus 02:28:35
4. Lyubov Morganova Rus 02:29:42
5. Irene Mogoka Ken 02:30:10
6. Alice Chelangat Ken 02:31:56