Sprint to finish decides Miami marathon

MIAMI -- Samuel Malakwen beat out Teferi Bacha by about a stride's length in a sprint down the finish-line chute to win the Miami Marathon on Sunday.

Both runners had a time of 2 hours, 16.55 seconds, but the Kenyan edged out the Ethiopian at the tape.

"The last 100 meters was very crucial to me because I was very tired and exhausted," Malakwen said. "He just pushed away from me. He ran fast because he saw the finish line and wanted to win. In my mind I said 'Let him go.' But when I saw the finish line I said 'I will not let him go' and I started sprinting very fast."

Benazzouz Slimani of Italy was third in 2:19:48, and Guatemalans Alfredo Areval (2:22:44) and Mynor Armando Aguilon (2:23:55).

"I am very happy with the results," Bacha said. "I have absolutely no grudges. I gave it my best. We were neck-and-neck starting from the half marathon. We told each other we'd help each other run personal bests. At about 50 meters left we started to sprint.

Bacha took a second too long to realize how quickly Malakwen was coming on.

"I was leading him until a few feet between me and the finish line when he caught up to me," Bacha said. "I felt a pang in my heart when he passed me. I thought I had clinched the finish when I began to sprint, but I realized a little too late how quickly he passed me."

Raquel Maraviglia of Argentina won the women's race in 2:41:39, leading from the start and coming in nearly four minutes ahead of Wioletta Kryza of Poland (2:45:32) and 2011 champion Alena Vinitskaya of Belarus (2:45:48). It was Maraviglia's fourth career marathon.

"I was trying really hard to get the Olympic 'A' standard qualifying time," said the 34-year-old Maraviglia, who fell four minutes short. "Winning was my second goal so at least I achieved that. I thought the course was going to be flat, but there were more bridges than I expected."

The 10th anniversary of the race went through Miami and Miami Beach on a clear, 66-degree morning.