LA Marathon 2012 Results: 'The Challenge' Adds Level of Excitement to Race

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2012

Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times
Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times

Finishing a marathon is an incredible achievement. Finishing a marathon in just over two hours, like the best runners in the world do, is mind-blowing.

And watching a marathon is pretty boring.

Let's keep it real here—unless you are a hardcore marathon fan, watching folks run for 26 miles is pretty dull.

But at the Los Angeles Marathon, they found a way to spice things up. You see, the women's winner, Fatuma Sado, took home a bigger prize than the men's winner, Simon Njoroge.

Why, you ask? Because of "The Challenge," of course. From Baxter Holmes of the Los Angeles Times:

Both runners won $25,000 for their first-place finishes as well as a Honda CRV valued at about $30,000, and because Sado crossed the finish line first overall, she won a $100,000 gender challenge bonus.

To be sure, the women's runners were given a 17-minute-31-second head start, a time based on the calculation of the differences in lifetime finishes among the top-seven-seeded men and women in the elite fields.

I love the idea of creating a staggered start for the men and women and allowing their to be a race to the finish for a huge monetary prize. Now you aren't just watching to see who wins the race from each gender, you are also eagerly anticipating which gender will send a racer across the finish line first.

That's a lot of fun, and with a $100,000 prize on the line, the stakes are pretty darn high as well.

In any competition, the higher the stakes, the more compelling the event. Adding a unique wrinkle like "The Challenge" certainly makes the Los Angeles Marathon a compelling event.

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