Ryan Hall, one of the favorites to win Sunday’s Los Angeles Marathon, says he doesn’t expect the weather playing a big role in the race.
“I don’t think it’ll be too bad,” said Hall during a news conference Friday. “It might be 70s in Santa Monica, which is similar to the conditions to when I ran 2:08 in London” in 2007.
L.A. Marathon organizers anticipate the race to be one of hottest on record with the forecast calling for temperatures in the high 80s. Temperatures are expected to be in the 60s at the start and could climb into the 80s at the finish line by 1 p.m. But that will be long after the contenders finish.
In order to combat the heat, organizers have moved up the full-field start 30 minutes to 6:55 a.m. They also plan to release runners in groups in order to better manage the flow of the race. The “wave starts” are designed to give runners better access to course-side medical and hydration stations, if needed.
“We are confident in our level of preparedness and the resources we have available to support a positive race-day experience for all participants,” said Glenn Ault, marathon medical director, in a statement.
Runners from 50 states and 55 countries are scheduled to take part in the 26.2-mile race, which starts at Dodger Stadium and ends near the Santa Monica pier.
Aside from Hall, Lani Rutto of Kenya and countryman Simon Njoroge are among the favorites to win the race’s 30th edition. Rutto was the men’s runner-up last year and Njoroge was the 2012 L.A. Marathon men’s winner.
On the women’s side, Misiker Demissie and Konjit Biruk of Ethiopia hold the field’s third- and fourth-fastest times and should be in contention to win.
The male and female winners will each receive $25,000.
Among the overall favorites are several American runners who will be competing simultaneously in the 2015 USA Track and Field Marathon Championships. Jared Ward, a runner-up in the 2014 Twins Cities Marathon, and Shadrack Biwott, 2013 USA Circuit Running champion, are national title contenders.
Janet Bawcom, who competed in the 2012 London Olympics in the 10,000 meters and the 2012 U.S. marathon trials, is a favorite in the women’s USATF race. Other favorites include three-time defending Big Sur Marathon winner Nuta Olaru and Becky Wade, the 2013 Cal International Marathon winner. Sara Hall, a decorated middle-distances competitor making her marathon debut, also could be in the mix.
A separate prize purse of $150,000 will be shared among the 74 USATF title competitors.
No gender challenge bonus
For the first time in more than a decade, there will not be a gender challenge bonus awarded to the marathon’s first finisher.
Starting in 2004, the marathon awarded a gender bonus to the first runner to cross the line, which wasn’t always the runner with the quickest time.
The elite men’s division started 17 minutes 41 seconds behind the women last year. On Sunday, the elite women are scheduled to start 10 minutes before the men.