Work of Times Photographer, Writer Named 'Best of West'

Times staff members Mark Boster, who produced a photo series detailing the plight of Orange County's homeless, and Mark Arax, who profiled champion high school cross-country runners from farm worker families, have won first-place awards in the Best of the West contest.

With a tape recorder and a camera, Times photographer Boster roamed Orange County talking to the homeless last year, recording in photos and interviews their tales of hardship, bad luck, mental illness and financial ruin.

Arax won for best long-form feature writing for his story on the runners, their coach and their quest to win a sixth straight championship.

The Best of the West award is sponsored by First Amendment Funding, an Arizona nonprofit group.

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