SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — Fatuma Sado of Ethiopia won the Los Angeles Marathon women's race on Sunday, breaking her personal best by more than 2 minutes and earning a $100,000 gender challenge bonus.
Kenya's Simon Njoroge won the men's race, his seventh victory overall and sixth in his last nine marathons.
The 20-year-old Sado, running in just her fourth marathon, led over the final 20 miles and won in 2 hours, 25 minutes, 39 seconds — the fourth-fastest time in the 27-year history of the race.
In her four marathons, Sado has never finished worse than second. Her previous best time was 2:28:01 last year in Istanbul. She previously won in Hamburg in her marathon debut.
She took advantage of a 17:31 head start the women's elite runners received over the men to win the prize given to the first runner, male or female, to finish.
Sado led for most of the race and her victory was assured when she broke away from countrywomen Belainesh Gebre and Yeshimebet Tadesse with split times of 5:05 for mile 15 and 4:58 for mile 16.
She remained on pace to shatter the meet record of 2:25:10 set by Russia's Lidiya Grigoyeva until mile 21, when an uphill climb through the Veterans Administration land caused her to slow to a 6:05 pace, followed by mile splits of 5:50 and 5:51.
Still, it was enough to beat Misikir Mekonnin, an Ethiopian living in Albuquerque, N.M., by 2 1/2 minutes. Mekonnin finished in 2:28:09, and Tadesse was third in 2:30:46.
Njoroge distanced himself from fellow Kenyan Weldon Kirui during the 22nd mile to finish in 2:12:12. Kirui was second in 2:13:40 and another Kenyan, Stephen Muange, was third in 2:13:50.
Njoroge and Kirui made it a two-man race in mile 16, and the two stayed together until reaching the VA property, when Njoroge increased his lead to 11 seconds, then 22 seconds.
The men's and women's elite winners earned $25,000 and a new car.
Krige Schabat, a 48-year-old South African living in Cedartown, Ga., won the men's wheelchair race for the third consecutive year, this time in 1:39:53. American Shirley Reilly successfully defended her women's wheelchair title, winning in 1:41:14.