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Repeat Champions Triumph At OC Marathon

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(credit: Ross Land/Getty Images)

(credit: Ross Land/Getty Images)

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NEWPORT BEACH (CBS) —  Maika Carlsen won the women’s division of the OC Marathon Sunday for the third consecutive year, while Peter Omae Ayieni was the men’s winner for the second consecutive year.

The 31-year-old Carlsen completed the 26-mile, 385-yard course in two hours, 53 minutes, 13 seconds. Stephanie Kato, 23, was second among the women in 2:55:05.

Ayieni, 34, was timed in 2:31:18. Nate Clayson, 26, was second in 2:34:50.

The race began at Newport Center Drive in front of the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa, continued through Costa Mesa and Santa Ana and ended at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa.

Changes to the course included having the runners pass Greenville Fundamental Elementary School in Santa Ana, whose approximately 375 participants in the marathon’s Kids Run the OC Program are more than any other school, race director Gary Kutscher told City News Service.

Another change was having runners go through the administrative parking lot of Segerstrom High School in Santa Ana, a move intended to give runners “a change of scenery,” Kutscher said.

The amount of the race run on the Santa Ana River Trail was cut from 3.3 miles to about 1.6 miles, substituted by streets in the Mesa Verde neighborhood of Costa Mesa in what Kutscher called “a major change.”

“The river trail (is) really nice for a short distance, but after about three miles it gets really tedious,” Kutscher said.

The finish line was moved past the main gate of the OC Fair and Event Center, allowing runners to run together longer, Kutscher said.

A field of 2,400 runners from 45 states registered for the race, now in its eighth year, a 4.3 percent increase over last year’s 2,300, Kutscher said.

“I was expecting a little bit more than that given that we have modified the course slightly to make it more favorable to the marathoners, but any kind of a gain in this economy, we’re excited about,” Kutscher said.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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