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'Women 99 and Over': These marathon results were unbelievable

March 21, 2012 |  8:06 am


Several readers skimmed the results of the Los Angeles Marathon in Monday’s Sports section and discovered something unbelievable.

The final age group category listed was “Women 99 and Over” -- and there were three finishers.

“I don't know about anyone else, but I'd sure like to meet the three women in the female age group ‘Women 99 and Over’ who completed the 2012 Los Angeles Marathon in under 5:30,” Maggie O’Donnell-Mogil wrote. “Now there's a story for the Los Angeles Times!”

Dorothy Carter of Los Angeles was similarly incredulous. “A 99-year-old woman completes the L.A. Marathon in under 5 hours? And two other 99-year-olds complete it in under 5 1/2 hours! Impossible!” she emailed. “Are there pictures of them crossing the finish line?”

Laurie Anderson of Palos Verdes Estates figured it must be an error. “If these numbers are accurate, why wasn't there an article written about these unbelievably fit women?” she asked. “Perhaps a second look and possibly a correction is in order.”

Marathon-resultsIndeed, this called for a second look.

The website for the L.A. Marathon has a database of race results, and by Tuesday afternoon there was no “99 and Over” category listed for women (or men, for that matter). There was, however, an “Invalid age” category -- and that’s where the “99-year-old” women could be found.

Because of an error, the women’s ages defaulted to 99 -- and the top three finishers initially were listed in the “99 and Over” group. That’s how The Times received the results Sunday night. By Tuesday, that was corrected on the marathon’s website, but the erroneous category had already been printed in Monday’s paper.

It’s too bad. Three 99-year-old women finishing the marathon? That would have been a great story.

-- Deirdre Edgar

Photo: The 2012 Los Angeles Marathon gets underway at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times