L.A. Marathon: Jemal Yimer, Stacy Nwida win – and she earns bonus

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LOS ANGELES — Jemal Yimer waited patiently until nearly two hours into the 38th Los Angeles Marathon to make his move. That’s when the 26-year-old from Ethiopia decided to break away from the pack at mile 23, on his way to winning by nearly one minute in a time of 2 hours, 13 minutes and 13 seconds.

The 26.2-mile course, which began at Dodger Stadium and moved through downtown L.A., Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Century City, ended with a jubilant fist pump by Yimer as he broke the tape.

“It’s a good race. I’m happy today,” Yimer said. “Thank you so much, Los Angeles.”

Ethiopia’s Jemal Yimer says thank you to LA after winning the 38th Los Angeles Marathon. #LAMarathon @ladailynews pic.twitter.com/udnPwgTF7f

— John W. Davis (@johnwdavis) March 19, 2023

Kenya’s Stacy Ndiwa, 30, not only won the women’s race in a personal-best 2 hours and 31 minutes. She won a $10,000 bonus by holding off a late charge by Yimer to be the first person to cross the finish line in the marathon chase challenge. The time differential for the marathon chase challenge was set at 18 minutes and 19 seconds.

“I was so prepared for this race,” Ndiwa said.

Kenya’s Stacy Ndiwa on winning the 38th Los Angeles Marathon. #Kenya #LAMarathon @ladailynews pic.twitter.com/DTN6OB3NKM

— John W. Davis (@johnwdavis) March 19, 2023

Her coach, Haron Lagat, said the additional prize money means the world to Ndiwa.

“As soon as I told her … she started crying because I know what she has gone through,” Lagat said. “She lost her (running) contract a few years ago when she had a baby. I feel like companies should not be cutting women. When you have a baby they should let you keep your contract because men are having babies (too). Why are they not cutting men?”

Lagat said Ndiwa’s win was about making a statement in the marathon, especially because it was her trip to the USA.

“The name itself, L.A., is very important,” Lagat added. “When you win L.A., when you’re a champion of L.A., everyone knows L.A., so actually the most important part is the city. I feel like this event should be way bigger than it is.”

Los Angeles Marathon winner Stacy Ndiwa’s coach Haron Lagat, a former marathoner himself, on Ndiwa proving she can be an elite marathoner after giving birth. #LAMarathon pic.twitter.com/eQv8Unh8al

— John W. Davis (@johnwdavis) March 19, 2023

Kenya’s Stacy Ndiwa gives it her all to win women’s race at the 38th Los Angeles Marathon. Ethiopia’s Jemal Yimer won the men’s race. @ladailynews @lamarathon #LAMarathon pic.twitter.com/36znGRI6ES

— John W. Davis (@johnwdavis) March 19, 2023

The men’s race was down to a lead pack of six runners before mile 2, including Yimmer, who was among the leaders from start to finish.

At the halfway point, five runners were still in contention: Kenya’s Emanuel Ngatuny, Thomas Rono and Barnaba Kipkoech, and Ethiopia’s Yemane Tsegay and Yimer.

Tsegay, 37, finished second in 2:14:06. Kipkoech, 29, finished third in 2:14:27.

The L.A. Marathon was also a prime opportunity for Americans to chase a qualifying time for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials which will be held on Feb. 3, 2024, in Orlando, Fla.

The men needed to run 2:18 or faster. The women needed to run 2:37 or faster.

The fastest American man was Hosava Kretzmann of Flagstaff, Ariz. Kretzmann, 28, finished sixth in 2:19:55.

“It was tough,” Kretzmann said. “Hills are always tough. This was my first marathon too. So I wasn’t expecting any of this. I was hoping for it to be flatter but I just went out and tried to hold on.”

Kretzmann said after making his marathon debut he’s going to keep pushing for 2 hours and 18 minutes or faster.

“That’s what I was shooting for today,” Kretzmann said. “I thought it was going to be a piece of cake, but running this course is tough. Hill after hill, you never know what’s going to happen. I didn’t really look at the course, so I didn’t know what to expect. I just wanted to run into it with an open mind. I’m just happy that I’m here.”

The fastest American at the 38th Los Angeles Marathon was Hosava Kretzmann of Prescott, Arizona. Kretzmann made his marathon debut and finished in 2:19:55, which is less than two minutes from qualifying for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. #LAMarathon @ladailynewshttps://t.co/JOfGvaUReD pic.twitter.com/Anopti18IV

— John W. Davis (@johnwdavis) March 19, 2023

The fastest local runner was Jason Yang of Los Angeles. The 22-year-old finished ninth in 2:27:57.

Meanwhile, the women’s race was down to just three runners before mile 6: Kenya’s Grace Kahura and Martha Akeno, and Ndiwa.

Only Ndiwa and Akeno were in contention at mile 10. Nwida broke away at mile 19 along Santa Monica Boulevard in Century City and never looked back.

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Akeno, 29, hung on to finish second in 2:34:25. Kahura, 29 finished third in 2:38:15.

The fastest American woman was Ashley Paulson of Mendon, Utah. Paulson, 41 and a mother of four children, finished fourth in 2:48:47.

“This is the first time I’ve ever had them ever come and bring a flag,” Paulson said while holding back tears. “I’ve seen so many athletes that I admire have that, and what a cool experience to be able to do that. It wasn’t my fastest marathon, but it’s really special and I’ll never forget having this feeling and I want it again and again now.”

Ashley Paulson of Utah was the fastest American, finishing 4th at the 38th Los Angeles Marathon. It was her first time ever being draped in the American flag after a marathon, which made her emotional. @ladailynews @lamarathon #LAMarathon pic.twitter.com/ecbqon47pr

— John W. Davis (@johnwdavis) March 19, 2023

The fastest local runner was Margaux Curcuru of Rosamond. The 31-year-old finished sixth in 2:53:02, which was a new personal best.

Her time was also a 39-minute improvement from her 3:32 result at last year’s L.A. Marathon.

Margaux Curcuru finished 6th with a personal best time of 2:53:02 at the 38th Los Angeles Marathon. She improved 39 minutes on her time from last year’s race. @ladailynews #LAMarathon pic.twitter.com/0k1gBonuJw

— John W. Davis (@johnwdavis) March 19, 2023

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