About 4,500 runners will compete in the eighth annual Long Beach Marathon today, starting at 7:30 a.m. in front of the Long Beach Convention Center.
Included in the field are runners in the Pacific Rim Championships, which feature entrants from 14 countries--among them the Soviet Union, China, Japan, Indonesia and Australia.
Last year's overall winner, Naek Sagala of Indonesia, is back this year, again competing in the Pacific Rim race. His winning time in last year's warm conditions was 2 hours 21 minutes 37 seconds.
Sagala is not the favorite, however. A Soviet runner has the fastest time of those entered, although there was some speculation whether the Soviets, who did not arrive as scheduled, would show up. Viktor Gural, a 27-year-old student, is the prohibitive favorite with his time of 2:11:30.
Jeff Dettmer of Anaheim, who was second in last year's race, is the top American with a time of 2:14:20. Jose Luis Chuela, 29, of Mexico, has a 2:12:08.
The women's race is decidedly weak. Irina Ruban, 27, of the Soviet Union has the fastest time, 2:30:40. Soviet teammate Tatiana Zueva, 31, has the field's second-best time, 2:32:30. Anita Johnson of Long Beach is the top American woman with a best time of 2:52:52.
Race walkers will start at 7:20 and the wheelchair competitors at 7:25, at the corner of Long Beach and Ocean boulevards.