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LOS ANGELES MARATHON | NOTES

March 05, 2001|PAUL GUTIERREZ

While most of the 21,000-plus marathon participants were loading up at a race-sponsored carbo dinner Saturday night, five Kenyans craved some home cooking while lounging in their rooms.

But no one in the Wilshire Grand Hotel's kitchen knew how to prepare what the Kenyans wanted--ugali, a staple of the Kenyan diet.

Invited down to the hotel kitchen, Ben Kimondiu, Benson Mbithi, Ronald Mogaka, Philip Tanui and Lucia Subano whipped up some of the cornmeal porridge as well as a beef and cabbage stew.

It must have helped.

Kimondiu and Mbithi finished second and third, respectively, in the men's race and Subano finished fourth in the women's race.

*

Kevin Collins was sure that his Discovery U.S.A. teammate and rabbit, Josh Cox, had erred in judgment, or maybe his watch had gone haywire.

While Cox was supposed to run Collins through the marathon's midway point at a pace that would get him there between 1:07:30 and 1:08:00, the two found themselves in the unofficial lead of a sluggish race at Mile 12.

"I was very, very surprised when I saw the front pack," Collins said. "I kept thinking, 'Geez, has Josh brought me through too quickly?' But he assured me he was staying within the [time] window.

"As a matter of fact, when I saw the pack in front of us I said, 'No, Josh, that's got to be a second pack.' And sure enough, looking around them, I could see the pace car and I was like, 'You've got to be kidding me.' So that was a real delight for both of us."

The lead time at the halfway point was 1:07:24.

Collins finished sixth in 2:17:47.

*

Jenica Flores, the UCLA student who lost half of her right foot in a 1996 accident, finished the marathon in 5:41:02.

"It was phenomenal; it was so much fun," Flores said. "By the end I felt like I could keep running back home, but my foot was like, 'No, no. That's enough.'

"My goal was to finish and to have fun. I accomplished both."

Flores, 29, was injured when a car jumped a curb and ran her over, pinning her foot under a tire.

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