South Pasadena Resident Places 2nd in Long Beach Marathon | Mary Akor’s Triumph

The distance runner finished second among women competing in Sunday’s Long Beach Marathon. The big event attracted thousands

PHOTO: Motivrunning | Long Beach Marathon

Mary Akor turned in a solid performance Sunday, coming back to South Pasadena with a second place finish in the Long Beach Marathon.

Akor trailed winner Nina Zarina of Campbell by more than three minutes while coming in third was Sarah Higgens of Long Beach.

Zarina separated herself from the pack at the 19-mile mark, recording a time of 2:45.11 over the 26 mile, 385-yard scenic course.

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A Moscow native, Zarina told the Long Beach Press Telegram she waited until the age of 25 before running competitively. Training with a small club near San Francisco, Zarina had a marathon victory there last July. “I had a lot of teammates tell me to run Long Beach because it was a flat and beautiful course,” she told the paper.

Akor came across the finish line with a time of 2:48.51 while Higgens clocked a 2:53.20.

Nate Clayton of Saratoga Springs, Utah was the winner on the men’s side, finishing in 2:28.57, his first marathon win. Santa Ana’s Jose Penaloza was second in 2:30.24 and Oswaldo Hurtado of Downey was third in 2:37.55.

Race officials say a capacity field of 3,200 entered the competition. Among those, 15 had competed in all of the previous 34 Long Beach Marathon events. A 13.1-mile half marathon, a 5K run and 20-mile bicycle tour were also a part of the day’s activities.

The Long Beach Marathon dates back to 1982, but it went on a hiatus in 1996 when it experienced financial problems and resumed three years later under new management.

A picturesque course, the Long Beach Marathon takes runners to some of Southern California’s best coastal areas. Participants start their journey from Rainbow Lagoon Park, go past the Queen Mary, along the Pacific Ocean, then run through Belmont Shore, along the edge of Recreation Park Golf Course and around the Cal State Long Beach campus before heading back to the downtown area where it all began.