Lenore Moreno breaks course record for women in OC Marathon

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Lenore Moreno is like most runners who try to maintain positive thoughts when approaching difficult spots during a marathon. But then again, Moreno, a 25-year-old from West Covina, really isn’t like any other runner.

There are challenges, and risks, during each race. She has exercise-induced anaphylaxis. According to a feature on her in the Los Angeles Times in February, the ailment means she “risks a severe allergic reaction if she exercises after consuming certain foods or wearing various fabrics. Eating peanuts, tree nuts, peaches, kiwis or plums — or wearing latex or a rubber headband to hold back her hair — can trigger shortness of breath, an outbreak of hives and swelling that constricts her throat.”

Moreno had other thoughts occupying her mind Sunday. Mainly, she didn’t want anyone to beat her.


She set a course record for women in the 12th annual U.S. Bank OC Marathon, finishing the 26.2-mile race in two hours, 37 minutes, 43 seconds. The former record, 2:45:56, was set in 2014 by Bonnie Axman.

Jordan Chipangama, who lives in Flagstaff, Ariz., and is originally from Zambia, won the men’s race 2:24:07.

Daniel Teklebrahan of Long Beach won the men’s OC Half Marathon in 1:05:29, a new course record. James Grabow set the previous record with a time of 1:06:20 in 2012.

The marathon began early Sunday at Fashion Island in Newport Beach, proceeding through Irvine and Santa Ana and finishing at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa.

“It feels amazing,” Moreno said of breaking the women’s record. “It’s very unexpected. I had no idea what pace I was going. I was just going based on how I felt and just have fun with it. I felt the last five miles it was kind of very tough for me. Mentally, I had to talk to myself to keep confident and go through with it.”

Moreno, who won the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Long Beach Marathon last year, said the conditions were perfect Sunday morning. She took the race strong, outdistancing herself from the competition within the first three miles.

Still, she believed her lead was never safe.

“I never take it for granted,” she said. “I’m always just gunning. … I always feel that someone is behind me, so I never want to settle. I just keep pushing.”

D’Ann Arthur, 28, of San Pedro finished second in the women’s marathon in 2:46:50.

Arthur, who is in residency for orthopedic surgery at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, said it was her first competitive marathon. She was grateful for her result, and collapsed moments after crossing the finish line – not because of pain or exhaustion, but in relief to have finished.

Throughout the race, she knew would not catch Moreno, she said.

“Props to her,” Arthur said. “I saw her for maybe the first mile and a half and then she was gone. … She rocked it.”

Chipangama, 26, who was making his OC Marathon debut, also dominated his race. However, he did not get a course-record time. That belongs to Peter Omae Ayieni, who won in 2:22:45 in 2011.

“I had the shot from the beginning,” Chipangama said of winning. “I knew if I played the cards well, I could win it. Within the first three miles I knew … that it was mine.”

Ariana Hilborn of Solana Beach won the women’s half-marathon in 1:16:45. She has the women’s course record, 1:15:51, set in 2012.

Thousands of runners and their fans filled the Orange County fairgrounds throughout the weekend with an expo on Friday and a kids’ run that featured 8,400 children on Saturday.

Sunday’s races drew 9,500 runners in the half-marathon, 2,600 in the full marathon and 2,000 in the Wahoo’s OC 5K.

“It was a great day for running, all around,” race director Gary Kutscher said. “We were worried about heat a couple of days ago, then it got kind of chilly. Turned out to be perfect. Couldn’t be better … for the runners out there.

“The course was great. Everyone who we talked to really loved the course, and to have a woman come in … in a course record is icing on the cake.”