Tonny Okello of the Santa Monica Track Club captured first place in the men’s division and Karolina Jarzynska of Alamosa, Colo. was the top finisher for women at the fourth annual Allstate Life Insurance Los Angeles 13.1 Marathon Jan. 13.
More than 3,500 participants competed in the half marathon and 5K events, where close finishes were the order of the day. The 13.1 Marathon began on the Venice Boardwalk and followed a coastal route through Venice, Marina del Rey and Playa del Rey, finishing near Dockweiler State Beach, while the 5K started and ended at Dockweiler.
Okello surged at the finish to win the men’s title, defeating Jordan Horn of Portland, Ore. by two seconds, 1:06:01 to 1:06:03. In the women’s division, Jarzynska pulled away in the race’s late stages to win by seven seconds over Kenya’s Risper Gesabwa with 1:12.34.
“The course was flat and fast,” said Okello, who is originally from Uganda but now lives in Santa Monica. “The freezing conditions made it difficult and it was windy at times.” The temperature was 38 degrees at the race starting line.
“It was windy out there and the competition was tough,” said Jarzynska, who is originally from Poland. “There were some hills and I won the race today by pushing the last mile.”
Allstate Life Insurance and nonprofit organization Give Your Sole collected more than 400 pairs of gently used shoes from race participants to benefit Union Rescue Mission, which serves homeless men, women and children in the Los Angeles community. Donations were collected at packet pick-up and on race day.
Several hundred racers, while training with local team groups, ran as part of the official benefiting charity, Team World Vision, to raise funds for clean water projects in Kenya and Malawi.
A number of personalities took part in the event including Deborah Ann Woll from HBO’s “True Blood,” who helped pace legally blind boyfriend, E.J. Scott. Scott, who was born with choroideremia, ran blindfolded in his effort to raise funding for the genetic eye disease and finished the 5K in 44:25.
Boxer Victor Ortiz, 25, of Encino placed in the Top 50 in the 13.1 Marathon with a time of 1:28.47.
Other competitors in the half marathon included reality TV stars raising money for World Vision, such as Alex Boylan of “The Amazing Race 2,” Parvati Shallow of “Survivor,” Jeff Schroeder of “Big Brother,” Brennan Swain of “The Amazing Race” and Ken Andrews and Austin Andrews of “Biggest Loser.”
The Los Angeles area event kicked off the 13.1 Marathon Series that is planned to make stops this year in cities like Miami, New York, Chicago, Boston and Dallas.
Full race results are available at www.131losangeles.com.