Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011 | 10:06 p.m.
Peter Omae of Kenya won the men's race and Zsofia Erdelyi of Hungary grabbed first on the women's side as Sunday's Las Vegas Marathon finished up at night for the first time.
Omae completed the course in 2 hours, 29.12 seconds while Erdelyi clocked 2:28.58 as an event-record 44,000 runners raced on the Las Vegas Strip at night for the first time.
Omae ran on Saturday night to prepare.
"I never ran in marathon during the evening before so I went out and practiced," the 33-year-old Omae said. "This was the hardest race I ever ran in. It's much harder to run in the evening."
The marathon started at 4 p.m. PST, rather than its usual start at 7 a.m.
Omae, who trains in Worcester, Mass., passed then-leader Nick Hird of Naperville, Ill., at 16 1/2 miles in front of Circus-Circus Casino.
"Around 14 or 15 miles, he started slowing down. I saw another guy pushing behind us, so I pushed it," said Omae, who won the inaugural Seattle Marathon in 2010.
Omae pulled away later as Clay Wing of Sedro Woolley, Wash., came in second at 2:35.23. Hird finished out of the top 10.
The 23-year-old Erdelyi struggled to walk after finishing the race. She won the Long Beach Half Marathon in October.
Melanie Peters of White Lake, Mich., finished second in 2:49.37.
There were an estimated 100,000 spectators and 32 bands playing along the route. Sixty couples planned to marry during the event.
Sean Houseworth of Highlands Ranch, Colo., won the men's half marathon in 1:03.12. Benita Willis of Australia was the women's half winner in 1:10.40.
The top nine men and top seven women in the half marathon qualified for the Olympic Half Marathon Trials on Jan. 14 in Houston.
Reality star Kate Gosselin competed in the marathon. Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready, and actress and model Angie Everhart raced in the half marathon.
There were runners from all 50 states and 54 countries. There were 6,000 entrants in the marathon, and 38,000 in the half.