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New Ethiopian Star Dire Tune Wins Thrilling 2008 Boston Marathon
by: LetsRun.com
April 21, 2008

Dire Tune of Ethiopia triumphed over Alevtina Biktimirova of Russia in the closest women's finish ever at the 2008 Boston Marathon.

After a decent opening pace (17:09 for 5k 2:23:20 pace) on the downhill opening miles, the evenly matched women's field slowed to a crawl. 17:41, 17:43, 18:14 and 17:49 (25k in 1:28:36, 5 minutes behind course record pace) for the next four 5ks as a tightly bunched women's field went through half way in a slow 1:14:45.

Towards the end of the fifth 5k last year's runner-up Jelena Prokupcuka decided enough was enough and she threw down a tremendous surge. The ladies went from running 5:46 on the 15th mile to 5:10 (according to the race splits provided by the BAA) on the 16th mile and the racing was on. The pack of ten was now down to five, Prokupcuka, Tune, Biktimirova, past Boston champ Rita Jeptoo of Kenya, and Italy's Bruna Genovese. Last year's champ Lidiya Grigoryeva was dropped and would finish 9th.

Women's Lead Pack
Women's Lead Pack

As soon as you thought Prokupcuka might be the strongest of the group she was off the back (she'd rally to finish fourth). Apparently her increased pace was even too much for herself as she fell off even though the women backed off the torrid 5:10 pace (17th mile in 5:34).

By 30k the lead pack was down to three, Tune, Biktimirova, and Jeptoo.

Fast Final 10k
Biktimirova continued to do most of the pacemaking and by 35k we were down to two. The ladies would only up the pace from here as they scorched the final part of the course. 5:08 for the 22nd mile, 5:12 for the 23rd mile, and 5:12 for the 24th mile. These were splits that would make world record holder Paula Radcliffe proud. Things slowed a little the 25th mile (5:25) but the women were just preparing themselves for a thrilling finish.

Dire Tune
Dire Tune Wins It

Over the final half mile, Tune first opened a gap on Biktimirova. Biktimirova then battled back on Tune and got a lead of her own. Then they were side by side on the final straight battling for the Boston crown.

Tune finally went to the front for good. She was just too strong and her 5:08 final mile gave her a much deserved two second victory in a thrilling women's race.

Tune was a well deserved champion. After the slow first half marathon she covered the second half in a torrid 1:10:36, even running over the Newton Hills. The women flew over the final miles, and her last mile was actually faster than that of the men's winner Robert Cheruyiot who ran a 5:11.

Tune a Young Star
After today's win, Tune appears to be a young star who's future is very bright. Only 22, Tune set a two minute personal best (2:24:40) to win the Chevron Houston Marathon just three months ago. Less than 100 days later she follows that up with her incredible Boston win.

The win was a hard fought battle as Tune acknowledged afterwards. She said through a translator that she was confident she would win only "when I crossed the finish-line."

Biktimirova had to be content for second despite being the one who pushed the pace for much of the second half of the race. Afterwards she said, "I wanted to win very badly and I was fighting until the end. I was trying to keep this race under control and in the end did not have enough speed. She has better track credentials and it was probably easier for her to sprint at the end. But I am happy with my performance."

The 2008 Champs

Hard to believe that Biktimirova's pb is only 2:25:12 back in  2005 and she's only broken 2:30 once since 2006. She upped her game big time today.

Rita Jeptoo won Boston in 2006, but her third place finish this year has put her career back on the right track. In 2007, Jeptoo did not break the 2:30 barrier (although she did run  2:32:03 for 7th in the heat of Osaka). She was pleased with third on Monday. She said, "I am truly so happy for being number three in Boston again for 2008." She added her legs felt heavy after 30k.

It was fitting that the women stole the show on Monday during a weekend dedicated to women's running in Boston with the with the Women's Olympic Marathon Trials on Sunday.

More: LetsRun.com Recap of Men's Race: Robert Cheruiyot Joins Bill Rodgers as a 4 Time Winner of Boston

*Full Results
1) Dire Tune (ETH), 2:25:25, $150,000
2) Alevtina Biktimirova (RUS), 2:25:27, $75,000
3) Rita Jeptoo (KEN), 2:26:34, $40,000
4) Jelena Prokopcuka (LAT), 2:28:12, $25,000
5) Askale Tafa Magarsa (ETH), 2:29:48, $15,000
6) Bruna Genovese (ITA), 2:30:52, $12,000
7) Nuta Olaru (ROM), 2:33:56, $9000
8) Robe Tola Guta (ETH), 2:34:37, $7400
9) Lidiya Grigoryeva (RUS), 2:35:37, $5700
10) Stephanie Hood (CAN), 2:44:44, $4200

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