Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Girma Bedada of Ethiopia won the 38th annual Marine Corps Marathon and Kelly Calway was the top finisher in the women’s division before shipping out with the U.S. Army to the Middle East.
The race was threatened with cancellation by the 16-day U.S. government shutdown, and runners were only informed 10 days before the start that the race would go ahead as scheduled.
Bedada, 33, finished the 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) race through downtown Washington in two hours, 21 minutes and 31 seconds. Calway, 29, who is stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, as a captain in the U.S. Army, told reporters she will deploy next week to Kuwait. She finished in 2:42:15.
“It’s awesome to win this race, representing the United States Army,” she said. “It’s the last thing I’m doing before shipping out, so it means the world to win this race.”
About 30,000 runners started the marathon, the world’s largest race without prize money. Before the start, a skydiving team carried several large American flags to the ground.
Arlen Bates, a retired Marine and the father of a Marine, ran his 21st Marine Corps Marathon carrying a Marine flag the length of the course.
Patrick Fernandez, a lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard, finished second to Bedada in a time of 2:22:51.
The marathon, the fourth-largest U.S. race and ninth biggest in the world, is used by many runners to qualify for the Boston Marathon, the only mass participation race that requires a qualifying time. Last year, 889 runners out of 23,519 finishers in the Marine Corps Marathon qualified for the Boston race.
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