Barno, Abrha triumph at California International Marathon

Elisha Barno of Kenya was the overall winner and Serkalem Abrha of Ethiopia the top women’s finisher at the 33rd annual California International Marathon on Sunday.

Barno, 30, who trains in Santa Fe, N.M., pulled away from a pack of lead runners around the mile 20 marker and finished in an unofficial time of 2 hours, 11 minutes, 51 seconds.

Abrha, 28, who trains in Albuquerque, N.M., and also won the women’s race at CIM in 2011, crossed the finish line in 2:31:49.

Macdonard Ondara of Kenya and Dereje Abera Ali of Ethiopia finished second and third in the men’s race, respectively, with Ali using a furious sprint down the home stretch to overtake Julius Keter of Kenya for the third-place finish.

A pack of six lead male runners dwindled to four by mile 20, and Barno used a strong kick to pull away, running alone for the final five miles of the race. As Barno crossed the finish line, a medal was placed around his neck and a Kenyan flag over his shoulders.

“This is the first time carrying the flag of my country,” Barno said. “I am very happy.”

Barno broke into a grin when asked how he felt after the win.

“Tired,” he said.

A field of 9,000 marathoners and 4,000 relay runners were expected for the 33rd running of the Folsom-to-Sacramento race. A light rain falling at the 7 a.m. start continued intermittently throughout the early hours of the race. Course records in both the men’s and women’s fields remained intact.

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