Kenyan runner Christopher Toroitich, winner of the 2009 Las Vegas Marathon, crossed the finish line in record time to win the second annual 13.1 Marathon-Los Angeles in Venice Jan. 16.

The runner-up in the 2008 Los Angeles Marathon, Toroitich set a new course record in the half marathon, 13.1-Los Angeles, at one hour, five minutes and 11 seconds. The women’s champion, Megan Nedlo, finished in a personal record-time of one hour, 20 minutes and 30 seconds.

Beginning along the scenic Venice Beach Boardwalk and ending at the Windward Circle, 13.1-Los Angeles offered racers a Hollywood-themed race featuring fire dancers, Tokyo drummers, and live bands.

Asked why he decided to run the 13.1 Marathon, Toroitich said, “I am excited to run the 13.1 Marathon because it is one of the finest half marathon courses in the world. It is flat, fast, and L.A. is a great place to be, especially in January.”

Racers were cheered on at the start and finish lines by Hollywood impersonators and iconic Venice Beach personalities like Harry Perry, the roller skating and guitar playing performer who also ran the half marathon.

In addition to the 13.1 Marathon, the Karhu 5K was also held in which racers were challenged to “Beat the Karhu Bear.” Any runner who “beat the Karhu Bear” character during the 5K and crossed the finish line before the bear, was presented with a ticket good for a free pair of Karhu running shoes of their choice from the Top to Top specialty running store. Nine racers finished ahead of the Karhu Bear, who completed the 5K in 18 minutes and 47 seconds.

The official benefiting charity, Team World Vision, took part in the event to raise funds for clean water projects in Kenya and Malawi.

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