Kenya native Simon Njoroge surprised the field of runners at the Honda LA Marathon on Sunday, which began at Dodger Stadium and finished up in Santa Monica, California (via LA Times).
The 23-year-old posted an impressive time of 2:12:12, capping off the 26.2 mile endurance event with his sixth win in his past nine marathons. Njoroge paced slightly less than a mile per five minutes.
Njoroge, like all of the thousands of runners in LA on Sunday, benefited from the mostly sunny skies that were uncertain earlier in the day when rain was a possibility. As the course got warmer and brighter, Njoroge got better. He took the lead in the 15th mile and began pulling away with just a few miles left to ease to victory, finishing more than minute before the trailing runners.
Fellow Kenyans Elias Kemboi and David Mandago were expected to out-class the field at this year's event, but instead the red-hot Njoroge took home the crown.
Mandago finished fifth, more than six minutes behind Njoroge.
Despite Njoroge's fabulous marathon time, he was still roughly six minutes off of the course record, which was set at last year's event by Markos Geneti. The Ethiopian posted a remarkable time of 2:06:35.
Njoroge can drive home in his new Honda CRV, which he won along with $25,000 for finishing first in the men's race. Unfortunately for Njoroge, he missed out on the $100,000 gender bonus which was won by female runner Fatuma Sado of Ethiopia for finishing first.
Njoroge should cry foul; however, considering that the women were given more than a 17-minute headstart to level the playing field. Sado finished in 2:25:39, just 29 seconds off the women's course record, set back in 2006 by Lidiya Grigoryeva.
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