It was a double win for Kenya on Sunday, March 21 at the 37th annual Los Angeles Marathon when Kenyan born, Romanian citizen Delvine Meringor and John Korir won their respective women and men categories.
Korir and Meringor win Sh685k each after dominating LA marathon
Kenyans have won the marathon 20 times out of 23
The elite athletes led the pack of an estimated 15,000 runners from around the country — and the world, covering a 42 kilometre course that spans some of the city’s most iconic neighborhoods.
It was the second L.A. Marathon in four months. Last year’s race was moved from March to November because of the pandemic.
Korir nearly won the 2019 race, but was passed in the final 200 yards by countryman Elisha Barno and finished second. His older brother Wesley Korir also won back-to-back Los Angeles Marathons, in 2009 and 2010.
Athletes enjoyed ideal weather conditions, with sunny skies and comfortable temperatures below 25 degrees for much of the day.
Runners began at Dodger Stadium and continued through downtown before turning northwest past Echo Park Lake and into Hollywood.
Korir completed the 385-yard course in an unofficial time of 2:09:07 while Meringor crossed the finish line at 2:25:03.
The men’s race has been won by a Kenyan every year since 1999, except for 2011, 2014 and 2020 when it was won by Ethiopians. A U.S. runner last won in 1994.
The men’s and women’s winners will each receive $6,000, the runners-up $2,500 each and third-place finishers $1,500 each.
“Today my strategy was to maintain and see how the guy (compatriot Edwin Kimutai) would be,” Korir said. “So I was running to see if I could break away at 20 miles but (Kimutai) didn’t want to break down. But at 22 miles I saw him back down so I decided to move.”
Meanwhile, Korir said he’s excited for some friendly brotherly banter and Korir family bragging rights.
“It feels good and I think my brother is happy, my coach is happy too,” Korir continued. “When we were coming to this race, I was coming to defend my title and try to chase the ladies, I didn’t catch the ladies but I’m good.”
Meringor, who just finished her second marathon ever, is hoping to qualify and represent Romania in the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.