Olympics come to the

Marina Sunday

BY JUDY BRILL

A few minutes before 8 a.m. Sunday, August 5th, some of the world’s fastest women runners will come to the starting line at Santa Monica College. At the sound of the gun, they will take off on a grueling 26-mile, 385-yard contest along the Olympic’s largest venue — the marathon course, through six Los Angeles communities — en route to the finish line at the Coliseum.

The halfway mark of this historic, first Olympic women’s marathon will bring an expected 60 women athletes right into our own backyard, as the course winds along Via Marina and Admiralty Way towards the Marina Freeway. And, according to some predictions, that mid-point in the race will be crucial to several runners who will be pacing themselves against the U.S.A.’s Joan Benoit.

Benoit, with a personal record (PR) of two hours, 22 minutes, 43 seconds, set at the 1983 Boston Marathon, holds the fastest time for any woman marathoner. However, the 27-year-old’s standing as a favorite has been shaken due to events over the last few months, including