Defending champion John Koir, two-time winner Elisha Barno and New Zeland Olympian Zane Robertson Headline men’s professional field
2015 Boston Marathon Champion Caroline Rotich and 2021 runner-up Antonia Kwambai highlight women’s contenders
Americans Tyler McCandless, Fernando Cabada and Amanda Phillips among the more than 15,000 entrants in 26.2-mile race
Elite women to start 16:05 before the men and the Quincy Cass Associates Marathon Challenge will be broadcast live on KTLA.com at 6:00am PST
Los Angeles – March 19, 2022 - The 37th Los Angeles Marathon presented by ASICS kicks off Sunday morning, with no shortage of storylines for the world-class elite races on tap for Southern California’s premier 26.2-mile road race.
Or as running historian Toni Reavis, who has been the TV color commentator for every L.A. race and will be behind the KTLA Channel 5 broadcast again Sunday said, “It’s a rich stew.”
Defending men’s champion John Korir returns with more than family pride on the line. After thinking he had the 2019 race won, Korir eased up, only to be passed by eventual winner Elisha Barno 150 meters from the finish. Korir, no doubt, exorcised some demons by winning last November’s race by more than five minutes, in 2 hours, 12 minutes, 47 seconds.
Korir will now try to put a back-to-back stamp on the race, something his brother Wesley achieved in 2009 and ’10. John has lived in Wesley’s shadow ever since slipping on his first pair of running shoes in Kenya.
That’ll happen when big brother lists the 2012 Boston Marathon on his résumé’.
Said Reavis, “I think John knows about Wesley. People tell him about Wesley all the time.”
Korir figures to be race sharp. In January, he ran a near two-minute, half-marathon personal best in Houston.
“Looks like he’s ready to go,” Reavis told Korir’s coach, Ron Mann.
To which Mann replied, “I’d say so, too.”
Storyline No. 2: Barno. In the Los Angeles Marathon’s rich 37-year history, three men and three women have won the race twice. Barno will attempt to become the first three-time winner. Judging from his 2:11:16 third-place finish at the Houston Marathon in January, at 37, Barno’s still got some speed in his legs.
Storyline No. 3: Edwin Kimutai. Kimutai finished second last year, but that came three weeks after clocking a 2:09:11 marathon in Paris. Might fresher legs Sunday move the Kenyan one spot up the podium?
Storyline No. 4: Zane Robertson. Robertson, 32, is a New Zealander by birth, but among elite runners he’s accepted as part of the East African family. At 17, Robertson and his twin bother, Jake, moved to Kenya to train. He has lived in Ethiopia since 2011 and married an Ethiopian.
A two-time Olympian, Robertson was a factor in the marathon at the Tokyo Games last summer before fading to 36th. He’ll try to become the first non-African male to win the L.A. Marathon since Jose Luis Molina in 1996.
Storyline No. 5: Antonia Kwambai. Natasha Cockram of Wales is not back to defend her title. Can Kwambai make the jump from last year’s second-place finish?
Storylines 6 and 7: Americans Tyler McCandless and Amanda Phillips. McCandless will attempt to run a sub-2:18 and qualify for his fourth U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Few runners are smarter. The 35-year-old from Colorado earned a Ph.D. in meteorology and works as director of analytics for a solar energy storage company.
You’ve got to love runners who pay the bills as a full-time teacher and that’s where Phillips comes in. The 35-year-old from Oregon is coming off a 15K win at last Sunday’s Shamrock Run Portland and will be attempting to qualify for the Olympic Trials in the marathon for the second time.
But arguably most fascinating angle to the 2022 Los Angeles Marathon presented by ASICS is the return of the Quincy Cass Associates Marathon Challenge. It’s a race within a race with the elite women given a handicap head start and competing against the men.
The Los Angeles Marathon held the challenge from 2004 through 2014 with the women holding a 7-4 edge. This year, the women will be staked to a 16-minute, 5-second start. The runners will be updated on where they stand in the field after 15 kilometers, then every 5K.
Asked if he’s a fan of the men-racing-women format, Reavis incredulously said, “It was my idea! You need to have a (race) signature.”
The first year of the Quincy Cass Associates Marathon Challenge in 2004 resulted in TV ratings tripling. It was the race’s highest ratings in 15 years.
“The whole idea was to gin up interest in the elite competition,” said Reavis. “You’ve got men chasing women. It doesn’t make a difference who the men are or who the women are. All men are rooting for the men and all women are rooting for the women. That’s why it works.
“Chasing has always been more intriguing than running side by side. Somebody’s trying to run somebody down.”
Based on the quality of the field, the elite women will start the race 16:05 before the elite men, who will give chase and try to make up the gap. The winner of the men-vs.-women challenge earns $10,000. The men’s and women’s winners earn $5,000.
“We’re thrilled to help bring back this exciting element to the Los Angeles Marathon,” said Quincy Cass Associates CEO Mark Minichiello. “It highlights the talented runners of both the women’s and men’s fields pursuing their high-performance goals, but what makes it really exciting is that anyone can win it.”
Quincy Cass Associates is the oldest independent financial firm in Los Angeles. Founded in 1922, it is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
KTLA Channel 5 will have exclusive live coverage of the event, starting from 6 a.m. until 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 20.
Viewers can also watch the race on KTLA.com, the KTLA 5 News app, KTLA’s YouTube, Hulu or KTLA+, which can viewed on the KTLA+ app on Apple TV, Roku, and Firestick. KTLA’s Facebook page and website will also have a livestream from the finish line cam.
Further information about the 2022 Los Angeles Marathon presented by ASICS, can be found online at LAMarathon.com.
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