Top African Runners Out of L.A. Marathon

Ethiopian Turbo Tumo, the top-seeded runner in Sunday’s Los Angeles Marathon, has reneged on his contract and chosen to take a more lucrative offer from the Lake Biwa Marathon in Japan.

Second-seeded John Ngugi and two of his Kenyan countrymen also will miss the race because of their failure to sign the proper paperwork to enter the United States.

Tumo, second in the 1996 New York Marathon, had negotiated a contract with the L.A. event believed to be worth about $10,000, plus bonuses and prize money. Lake Biwa is believed to have doubled that in guaranteed money.

“He got a fair offer here,” an angry Ann Roberts, the elite coordinator for the New York Marathon who negotiated with Tumo’s representatives on behalf of Los Angeles, said Thursday. “This is a very unstable athlete, but this is very disturbing.”


Roberts said she was seeking sanctions against Tumo.