Kenyan overcomes wind to win Las Vegas Marathon

Updated: December 3, 2012, 1:22 AM ET
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS -- Overcoming strong winds, Kenya's Jonathan Ndambuki was the star headliner on the Las Vegas Strip, winning the Rock `n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon on Sunday night.

The 36-year-old Ndambuki finished with a time of 2 hours, 32 minutes and 24 seconds -- just more than a minute in front of his closest competitor, 31-year old Steve Dekoker, of Seattle, who finished the 26.2 mile race in 2:33:22.

"It was very windy today, and the last 10K it was nothing but straight wind," Ndambuki said. "Running in Las Vegas, down the strip, there were beautiful sights, but it was a brutal, hard wind."

Sam Robinson, of Oakland, Calif., took third in 2:41:09.

"There was lots of high energy out there tonight," the 27-year-old Robinson said. "The wind made it hard to keep up. ... Mile marker 17 was hard, that's where the wind kicked up. But the crowd helped out a lot. Once we got back on the strip, you could smell the atmosphere ... the casinos."

The women's overall winner was 42-year-old Nuta Olaru, who finished in 2:51:31. Adrian Neal, 29, of Colorado Springs, Colo., was second in 2:51:33, followed by Dani Fischer, 24, of Madison, Wis., in 2:59:20.

"We took turns taking the lead when it got really windy," Neal said, referring to herself and Olaru, and how the two would block the wind from one another.

There 3,245 racers who started the full marathon, while 22,323 started the half-marathon.

Craig Hopkins of Portland, Ore., was the men's winner in the half-marathon, finishing in 1:07:23, while Bradi Hutchison of Pocatello, Idaho, was the top women's runner (1:19:34).

Several celebrities entered the event as well, including: suspended New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, actresses Nikkie Reed and Nicole Sullivan, singer-songwriter Paul McDonald from "American Idol," reality TV star Kate Gosselin, and Sean Lowe, the leading man for the upcoming season of "The Bachelor."

"This is the most exciting one to run in," said Sullivan, who said she races in three or four half-marathons a year. "It's the strip, who doesn't like the strip."

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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