James Kirwa wins 2013 Pittsburgh Marathon


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Finishing among a group of half marathon participants, James Kirwa was the first to cross the finish line at the Boulevard of the Allies to win the 2013 Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon.

Kirwa, who is of Kenyan descent, also won the 2012 Pittsburgh Marathon, making him the first person to win the race in back-to-back years since 1994.

He finished with an unofficial time of 2:13:37, which did not break a record, but it was better than his winning time of 2:14:09 from last year. The time was also the fastest since the race was resurrected five years ago.

American Mary Akor finished first among female participants in the marathon, but after she crossed the finish line, she fell and had to be attended to by the marathon's medical staff. Akor finished the race with an unofficial time of 2:37:35.

Finishing behind Kirwa on the men's side were Stephen Njoroge in second place (2:14:10) and Jonathan Kibet in third place (2:17:29).

Hirut Guangul finished second in the women's marathon with a time of 2:38:05, with Yihunilish Bekele Dele rounding out the top three with a time of 2:41:30.

Julis Kogo of Kenya won the UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon.

In the process of his victory, Kogo broke the half marathon course record, which was set last year with a time of 1:02:57. Kogo ran a 4:47 minute mile pace for the 13.1 miles

Risper Gesabwa of Kenya finished first among the female participants in the half marathon. The top two female finishers in the half had the second and third-fastest times in the race's history.

Matt Levassiur of Colorado Springs was the first American finisher in the half marathon with a time of 1:08:18

Under clear skies and with the temperature at a breezy 50 degrees, the marathon got off to an official, and uninterrupted, start at 7 a.m.

The half-marathon leaders were coming up on East Carson Street at about 7:45. Kenyan Julius Kogo was starting to stake out a lead.

The pack of elite runners made its way across the West End Bridge at about 7:25 a.m.

The race began at its starting line on Liberty Avenue near Seventh Avenue with a blow of the whistle from Steelers safety Ryan Clark.

The marathon featured a record number of participants -- about 30,000 -- for a race that is entering its fifth year since it restarted after a brief delay.

A strong police presence was felt along today's course, in the wake of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings. Pittsburgh police were assisted by Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency staff and other area police departments.

A little more than four hours after the start time, police spokeswoman Diane Richard said police operations at the marathon were going "pretty smoothly." She said police received a few calls for people acting suspiciously, but they were unfounded.

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Staff writers Craig Meyer, Sam Werner, Liz Navratil and Karen Kane contributed reporting. First Published May 5, 2013 10:15 AM


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