Repeat Winner in the 2019 Los Angeles Marathon

The winners of the Women’s and Men’s leaderboards, (left to right) Askale Merachi of Ethiopian and Elisha Barno of Kenya pose with their medals and trophies in front of the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica Calif. on Sunday March 24th 2019. (Conner Savage Corsair Staff).

The winners of the Women’s and Men’s leaderboards, (left to right) Askale Merachi of Ethiopian and Elisha Barno of Kenya pose with their medals and trophies in front of the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica Calif. on Sunday March 24th 2019. (Conner Savage Corsair Staff).

Kenya’s Elisha Barno dashed towards shining blue Los Angeles marathon tape with his arms extended. Barno won his second L.A. Marathon in three years, defeating fellow Kenyan John Korir by seven seconds for the closest finish in the 34-year history of the race.

As Barno dropped to the ground in disbelief, he couldn’t help but smile. Korir knelt beside him with a Kenyan flag draped over his shoulders, and the two countrymen rose moments later as champions.

Barno sped past Korir with 150 meters left and finished with a mark of two hours, 11 minutes and 45.54 seconds.

32-year-old Ethiopian Askale Merachi dominated the marathon’s final six miles and placed first on the women’s leaderboard with a record-setting time of two hours, 24 minutes and 11.83 seconds. Dating back to when the “Stadium to the Sea” course was put into place for 2009’s race, no runner has placed a faster time. Merachi took down Lidiya Grigoryeva’s previous record set in 2006 by almost one minute.

Korir (2:11:52.29) and Mexico’s Juan Luis Barrios (2:11:59) rounded out the men’s top three. American Tyler McCandless (2:14:57) finished 11th. Behind Merachi, Kenyan Cynthia Jerop broke the finish line next (2:25:54.41). Lucy Karimi, also from Kenya, placed third (2:26:15.42). American Lindsey Anderson finished sixth with a time of two hours, 26 minutes and 16 seconds.

Weldon Kirui of Kenya, who attempted to become the first athlete to ever win the L.A. marathon three times, earned fifth place with a time of two hours, 13 minutes and 24.11 seconds. Kirui, age 30, won both the 2016 and 2018 marathons.

Handcyclist, Travis Gaertner (cq), bursts off the starting line at the 34th Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday, March 24, 2019, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. Gaertner crosses the finish first with a total handcycle marathon time of 1:06:29. ( Andrew Narvaez/The Corsair)

Handcyclist, Travis Gaertner (cq), bursts off the starting line at the 34th Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday, March 24, 2019, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. Gaertner crosses the finish first with a total handcycle marathon time of 1:06:29. ( Andrew Narvaez/The Corsair)

In men’s and women’s wheelchair, Joshua Cassidy (1:31:47.67) and Katrina Gerhard (1:56:22.03) took home first place honors.

Marathon participants began their mornings at Dodger Stadium, wheelchair and handcycle athletes starting just after 6:30 a.m. Professional women (6:45 a.m.), professional men (6:55 a.m.) and the rest of the marathon’s field took off next. Along the marathon route, athletes traversed through L.A. landmarks such as City Hall, Little Tokyo and the Dolby Theater.  By close to 9 a.m., Barno and the other marathon leaders filed onto Ocean Avenue along the Pacific Ocean.

A field of nearly 24,000 runners featured elite athletes from Mexico, Ukraine, Kenya and Ethiopia. More than 3,000 young athletes ran 2019’s marathon as part of Students Run LA (SRLA), an after-school fitness and wellness program.