Weldon Kirui, a 28-year-old athlete from Kenya and his country, are currently on the edge as the athlete aims to establish a name in the 2017 Los Angeles Marathon.
The L.A Marathon is scheduled for Today, Sunday, March 18, 2017 and for Kirui, he will be aiming to establish his own legacy in the 32nd Marathon by become the first to win back-to-back L.A. Marathons on the current course and only the third runner overall.
Last year, Kirui won the 26.2-mile race in 2 hours, 13 minutes 6 seconds, which was the slowest time for the seven-year-old course. He’s hoping to join over 150 runners who have already established their running legacy by competing in the event that will see close to 24,000 participate.
“My aim is to win it,” Kirui said. “Maybe it’s hard; we’ll see on Sunday. I feel I’m in better shape than last year.”
Daniel Limo who won the race two years ago but finished third last year, will also compete in this year’s race and wants to win just as bad.
“It depends on the way the race goes,” Limo said. “I’d be happy to win it again.”
No Athlete has ever won the race back-to-back since the introduction of the new course, but, Kenyans have been coming close. Wesley Korir, the last to win back-to-back, was the first to win on the current course configuration in 2010. Another Kenyan, Stephen Ndunga won back-to-back races (2001-02).
Art Boileau of Canada is also a two-time winner (1987, 1989).
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Kirui is optimistic of winning with a better time this year after having a disastrous race last year which started just after landing in L.A. His luggage was lost en route to Southern California in 2016. He was forced to borrow clothes and shoes in preparation for the race.
“I think the time will be better than last year,” said Kirui.
For women, there won’t be a back-to-back course winner this year since Ukraine’s Nataliya Lehonkova didn’t register.
Among those scheduled to compete are Biruktayit Degefa of Ethiopia, who was fourth in 2014; Heather Lieberg of Helena, Mont., who was fifth two years ago; and Kenyan Sarah Kiptoo, in her first L.A. race.