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Rop, Chepchumba Win New York City Marathon with Late Surges Keflezighi, Runyan Debut in Top 10; Glusac PRs
By Jim Gerweck, Running USA wire

NEW YORK - (November 3, 2002) - At the New York City Marathon, Manhattan's First Avenue is the equivalent of box seats at a baseball park as the fans here line up deeper, and cheer louder, than at any other point on the 26.2 mile, five-borough route. Today, they had something extra and unexpected to cheer about as American runners leading both the men's and women's races as the runners rolled off the Queensboro Bridge and into the "Canyon of Sound" for which First Avenue has become famous.

Milena Glusac and Meb Keflezighi of Team USA California made aggressive moves coming over the span, and while they faded somewhat in the final miles, the fact that they were running with the big kids capped a year of resurgence of American distance running.

In the end, a pair of Kenyans took the winners' laurels, Rodgers Rop adding the Big Apple title to his Boston crown, and Joyce Chepchumba, a past victor at London and Chicago, finally getting the third leg of marathoning's Triple Crown. It was the first time Kenyan runners have won both the men's and women's titles at New York in the same year.

Glusac, Chepchumba and some two dozen other elite women didn't have to share the cheering with the men this time, either. For the first time in a major U.S. marathon, they were given a 35 minute head start over the men and the 32,000-plus others who braved chilly temperatures and stiff breezes to make it from Staten Island to the finish in Central Park.

Not having to share the road with the masses no doubt made matters easier for Marla Runyan in her marathon debut. The American record holder for the 5000 indoors and a 2000 Olympian, Runyan of Eugene, Ore. is legally blind and was followed by a cyclist who called out splits and gave her verbal cues of changes in the course and the race complexion. The result was a stunning 2:27:10, fifth overall, the 10th fastest U.S. time ever and made Runyan the fifth fastest American all-time.

"I couldn't be happier," she said afterward. "I felt really good until the last two miles, and the support of the crowds was incredible."

Glusac, who later regretted the rashness of her move, "I should have held back about 10 seconds per mile," she said. Nonetheless the Fallbrook, Calif. resident finished tenth in 2:31:14, a 2:32 PR and better than the 2004 Olympic Marathon 'A' standard (2:32:00).

Keflezighi, also a 2000 Olympian and multi-national champion, had no regrets about pushing the pace up First Avenue.

"Rodgers Rop was making a move, and I went for it," said the U.S. 10,000 meter record holder. "You run and learn." In spite of a final 10K that he termed "painful" and so slow he'd like to forget his splits, he hung on to finish ninth in 2:12:35, making him the fourth fastest American man of 2002 behind world record holder Khalid Khannouchi, Alan Culpepper and Dan Browne.

Chepchumba, 31, who was the marathon bronze medalist at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, pulled away from Russia's Lyubov Denisova as the pair entered Central Park, her 2:25:56 giving her a 21 second margin and her a record ninth sub-2:26 marathon. Yugoslavia's Olivera Jevtic recovered from a late race collision and fall with Aussie Kerryn McCann to place third in her debut as she set a national record 2:26:44.

Rop, 29, who holds the 25K world road record, had fellow Kenyans Christopher Cheboiboch and Laban Kipkemboi for company in the final miles before surging away at 35K, leaving Cheboiboch in the same runner-up position he occupied at Boston, ten seconds behind Rop's 2:08:07, a PR. Kipkemboi finished third in 2:08:39 with France's Mohamed Ouaadi fourth in 2:08:53; the first time four men have broken 2:09 at the race in the same year.

>From the women's head start, which put the race in plain view of fans along the route, to the record field, it was a successful day all around for race organizers, who got an added boost the previous evening when New York was selected as the U.S. bid city for the 2012 Olympics.

"There was just a good feeling about the race from everyone," said director Allan Steinfeld. "Last year was more of an emotional reaction to 9-11, but it's carried over to making this the best New York Marathon ever. For the media, the athletes, and most of all the spectators, I think we did that."

Ask anyone from any of those groups and it's probable they'll echo the race's 2002 motto: "New York - Love It."

33rd New York City Marathon
New York, NY, Sunday, November 3, 2002

MEN
 1. Rodgers Rop (29), KEN 2:08:07
 2. Christopher Cheboiboch (25), KEN 2:08:17
 3. Laban Kipkemboi (24), KEN 2:08:39
 4. Mohamed Ouaadi (33), FRA 2:08:53
 5. Stefano Baldini (31), ITA 2:09:12
 6. Mark Carroll (30), IRL 2:10:54
 7. Gert Thys (30), RSA 2:11:48
 8. Matt O'Dowd (26), GBR 2:12:20
 9. Meb Keflezighi (27), CA 2:12:35
10. Stephen Ndungu (35), KEN 2:13:28
11. Jeff Schiebler (29), CAN 2:14:13
12. Wilson Musto (26), KEN 2:15:45
13. Matteo Palumbo (29), ITA 2:16:06
14. Hendrik Ramaala (30), RSA 2:17:10
15. Mitsunori Hirayama (26), JPN 2:17:14

WOMEN

 1. Joyce Chepchumba (31), KEN 2:25:56
 2. Lyubov Denisova (31), RUS 2:26:17
 3. Olivera Jevtic (25), YUG 2:26:44
 4. Esther Kiplagat (35), KEN 2:27:00
 5. Marla Runyan (33), OR 2:27:10
 6. Margaret Okayo (26), KEN 2:27:46
 7. Kerryn McCann (35), AUS 2:27:51
 8. Lornah Kiplagat (28), KEN 2:28:41
 9. Ludmila Petrova (34), RUS 2:29:00
10. Milena Glusac (27), CA 2:31:14
11. Zinaida Semyonova (39), RUS 2:31:39
12. Sonia O'Sullivan (32), IRL 2:32:06
13. Sylvia Mosqueda (36), CA 2:33:47
14. Kim Fitchen-Young (34), CA 2:38:05
15. Carol Howe (36), CAN 2:38:37

MASTERS 40+
MEN
1. Fedor Ryzhov (42), RUS 2:18:46
2. Sam Ngatia (43), CO 2:24:08
3. Andrea Davini (40), ITA 2:28:1

WOMEN
1. Shelly Steely (40), NM 2:44:51
2. Alayne Adams (41), NY 2:51:18
3. Gordon Bakoulis (41), NY 2:54:42

For more results, splits and awards, go to the race website:
http://www.nycmarathon.org

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Questions, comments or suggestions?Please email the LetsRun.com staff at [email protected]

 

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