LAS VEGAS – Stephen Kiogora of Kenya won the inaugural New Las Vegas Marathon on Sunday while Adriana Fernandez of Mexico won a sprint finish in the women’s race.

Kiogora pulled away from Titus Munji of Kenya during mile 23 of the 26.2-mile race and finished in 2 hours, 11 minutes, 58 seconds for his first marathon win. He also collected $100,000.

Kiogora and Munji were racing as part of a three-man pack until mile 22, when they pulled away from Araya Haregot of Ethiopia. Munji held on for second in 2:13:21. Tekeste Kebede of Ethiopia was third in 2:14:38, Gimma Tola of Ethiopia placed fourth in 2:14:50, and Haregot finished fifth in 2:15:30.

“I ran a tactical race based on the weather,” Kiogora said about the 43-degree temperature with 10 to 15 mph wind gusts at the start of the race.

Fernandez, 34, set the pace for the women starting at mile 19, but Galina Bogomolova of Russia, Dorota Gruca of Poland and Nuta Olaru of Romania remained in a close pack behind her.

During the final 100 yards, Bogomolova pulled slightly ahead of Fernandez, who mounted a charge just in front of the finish line to win in 2:31:54.

Bogomolova, who was making her marathon debut, recorded the same time as Fernandez while Gruca placed third in 2:31:55 and Olaru finished fourth in 2:31:57. Fernandez earned $50,000 while Bogomolova won $25,000.

“With 100 meters left, I was not that confident,” Fernandez said. “But I wanted to give it my best, even though Galina is the fastest woman in the world for 10,000 meters. I knew she had great leg strength.”

There were 10,955 runners entered in the marathon, run beneath flashy neon, glittering fireworks and the strains of Elvis Presley’s “Viva Las Vegas.” The race featured 36 running Elvises, as well as three couples who were married and 17 couples who renewed their vows at the run-through Special Memories Wedding Chapel at mile five.

AP-ES-12-04-05 1610EST


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