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No Bonus For LA Marathon Women's Champion
Submitted by Rickshaw :: Tue Mar 08, 2005 10:07 am
Russia's Lyubov Denisova won the women's race at Sunday's Los Angeles marathon with a new course record of 2:26:11, but her happiness faded fast. She was bitter about failing to collect the $75,000 bonus for the overall winner in the handicapped event, due to what she viewed as an unreasonably small head start of 15:50 for the women versus the men. The previous year's race featured a 20:30 head start for the women, and the new handicap was announced just three days before the race. Denisova led until mile 26, when she was passed by men's champion Mark Saina and runner up Ben Maiyo. Factoring in the time differential, Saina finished 44 seconds ahead of Denisova. Saina and Denisova each won $25,000 and a car for their victories, as well as a $10,000 bonus for a fast time.
When she learned of the new handicap on Thursday, Denisova almost withdrew from the race. She had turned down a spot at the Boston Marathon next month, thinking the LA marathon held better potential for her. She believed the handicap might be cut from last year's value, but not as much as it ultimately was.
The 15:50 head start number was determined by a sports statistician, based on data from 40 past marathons with fields similar to Sunday's. The difference between the current men's and women's world marathon records is 10:30.