The new additions arrive, because of the cancelled Nagoya Women’s Marathon
From: RunningUSA Wire
LOS ANGELES — Two professional female marathoners who were scheduled to run in the cancelled Nagoya Women’s Marathon are headed to Los Angeles to run in the 26th Honda LA Marathon presented by K-Swiss on Sunday, March 20.
Russian Olympian Albina Mayorova and Japanese marathoner Eri Okubo will compete on the Stadium to the Sea course this Sunday, allowing them to race just a week later than they had planned in Japan.
“When we recognized the impact of the earthquake and tsunami on the running community in Japan, for which the Nagoya Women’s Marathon is an important race, we immediately extended an invitation to the elite field to come to Los Angeles,” said Nick Curl, LA MARATHON LLC chief operating officer. “Along with our ongoing fundraising efforts for Japan relief, we’re delighted to welcome these two marvelous athletes.”
Mayorova, 33, took part in the 2004 Olympic Marathon in Athens, Greece, finishing 40th and has been a top international marathoner for almost a decade, with a best of 2:25:35 set at Chicago in 2003. She could be a strong challenger to race favorite Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia.
Okubo, 27, has a best of 2:35:24 in the marathon, set at the 2010 Nagoya Women’s Marathon and is well familiar with the U.S., having trained in Boulder, Colorado in 2003-04. Her last marathon was a sixth-place finish in Honolulu last December. ”These athletes will get a warm welcome here,” noted Curl. “We applaud their determination and are thrilled that they will join us for Sunday’s race.” The Marathon has set up a special set of donation links for runners, family and friends to offer support for relief efforts in Japan at LAMarathon.com.
In the men’s race, Wesley Korir will try to become the first runner to win three straight Honda LA Marathon titles, but he will face a formidable field that includes two runners with lifetime bests more than 30 seconds faster than his personal record of 2:08:24, and five runners who have run 2:09:44 or better. The top contenders to Korir are fellow Kenyans Ben Maiyo (2:07:09), Patrick Ivuti (2:07:46), Benson Barus(2:08:34), Nicolas Kamakya (2:08:42) and Shadrack Biwott (debut) and top Ethiopian Markos Geneti who sports a swift 5000 meter personal record of 13:00.25 and will also debut in Los Angeles.
Korir and the other professional athletes will be chasing the winner’s prize: $25,000 in cash and a new Honda Insight EX sedan with navigation (MSRP: $23,100), as well as trying to win the unique Marathon Challenge, which rewards the first runner to cross the finish line – man or woman – with a $100,000 bonus. The women lead the Marathon Challenge 4-3 over the men.