Runners start the 26th Honda LA Marathon in Los Angeles, Sunday, March 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Markos Geneti of Ethiopia set a new race record by almost two minutes Saturday to win the LA Marathon.
Not bad for his first competitive marathon run.
Geneti clocked an unofficial time of 2:06:35 on the wet stadium-to-the-sea course. The old record was set by Wes Korir, defending two-time champ, in 2009.
Geneti has had a career as a middle distance runner. He was running his first 26.2 mile race.
Ethiopia's Buzunesh Deba won the women's division with an unofficial time of 2:26:34. The women's division was a seesaw between Deba and Amy Hastings, of Mammoth Lakes. Hastings was ahead for nearly the entire course before faltering at Mile 21, in Brentwood.
Deba's victory was her seventh marathon win in the nine races she has entered. She won $25,000 and a Honda sedan, while Geneti won $125,000 for his record time, as well as a Honda.
Krige Schabirt won the wheelchair division with a time of 1:35:12. The former soldier from South Africa, who lost his legs in a war on Angola, now lives in Georgia.
Runners Face Wet, Cold Conditions
A cold rain moved into Los Angeles early Sunday, and cases of mild hypothermia were reported later in the race.
The race started at Dodger Stadium on nearly-dry pavement, but soaking rain and driving winds developed a half hour into the race. There was ankle-deep water in Brentwood, and cold, wet winds lashed the finish line.
Six hours after the marathon began, Los Angeles paramedics were dealing with hundreds of soaked runners scattered between Hollywood and Santa Monica, some suffering mild hypothermia. At least 20 people were hospitalized for hypothermia, cramps or other problems, and another 70 treated and released on city streets.
The Santa Monica Fire Department said about 200 marathon runners who crossed the finish line were being evaluated inside the ballroom of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel at 1 p.m. Twelve of them had been taken to hospitals with hypothermia symptoms, a race spokesman there said.
Most of the complaints from runners were for cramps and hypothermia, said Capt. Judah Mitchell of the Santa Monica Fire Department.
"After they sit a while and we get a banana in them, they say they are good,'' he said.
Los Angeles firefighters said they were tallying the numbers of hypothermia cases, and said it is not yet apparent if the number of chilled runners is comparable to the numbers of sunstroke or dehydration cases on warmer day marathons.
During the first six hours of the marathon, .78 inch of rain fell at Santa Monica Airport. .
Check out a list of road closures/reopen times. Check the video, highlighting the electric new route for the marathon.