Beneath surprisingly sunny skies, Fatuma Sado won the 27th annual L.A. Marathon in the women’s category on Sunday, posting a time of 2 hours, 25 minutes and 39 seconds.
[Updated at 10:25 a.m.: Officials had earlier said Sado’s finishing time was 2:25:38. Her official time of 2:25:39 was the fourth-fastest performance in the women’s race in Los Angeles.]
Simon Njoroge, a 31-year-old from Kenya, won the men’s side, posting a time of 2:12:12 in the 26.2-mile race that began at Dodger Stadium and finished in Santa Monica.
Both runners won $25,000 for their first-place finishes as well as a Honda CRV valued at about $30,000, and because Sado crossed the finish line first overall, she won a $100,000 gender challenge bonus.
To be sure, the women’s runners were given a 17-minute-31-second head start, a time based on the calculation of the differences in lifetime finishes among the top-seven-seeded men and women in the elite fields.
Sado, a 20-year-old from Ethiopia, was running in her fourth-ever marathon and she was dominant. She took the lead in the seventh mile, separated herself in the 12th and only put distance between herself and the second-place runner from there.
For much of the race, Sado was on pace to break the course record of 2 hours, 25 minutes, 10 seconds, set by Lidiya Grigoryeva of Russia in 2006.
But Sado began to slow in the 21st mile. Still, she was far ahead of her competition.
She led the final 20 miles and topped her previous career-best time of 2:28:01 in Istanbul in 2011. It’s also her second marathon win in four attempts.
She won the first marathon she ever ran in Hamburg, Germany in 2010. In all four of her marathons, she has finished either first or second.
Njoroge took his first lead in the 15th mile and took it for good in the 17th mile, though fellow Kenyan runner Weldon Kirui wasn’t far behind.
But in the 22nd mile, Njoroge began to break away. He didn’t look back.
It was his seventh overall marathon win in his 17th overall marathon.
Njoroge has won six of his last nine marathons.