By Chris Lotsbom
(c) 2010 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

BOSTON (18-Apr) -- Teyba Erkesso ran just as she had hoped here Monday to win the 114th running of the Boston Marathon.  The 27 year-old Ethiopian surged away the from the field early, yet had to fight for the win at the end of the world's oldest marathon.

With near perfect conditions for racing --a mostly sunny day with temperatures hovering around 50°F and varying winds-- 55 elite women took off from Hopkinton running in a large pack at a middling pace.  The pack continued to stay together through the nine mile mark, when a group of three Ethiopians broke away, led by 2008 Boston champion Dire Tune.  Tune, Erkesso, and Koren Yal threw in a surge just before the half way point, breaking up the field.

"I knew I was in very good shape, so I pushed the race from the beginning." said Erkesso, who trains with Tune under coach Haji Adillo.

After passing the famous Wellesley Fire Station at the seventeen and one-half mile mark, the pack was down to two, as Yal had fallen back.  Tune was next to falter, quickly falling back and soon dropping out.  It was now Erkesso against the clock, or so it seemed.

By the end of Heartbreak Hill in the 21st mile, Erkesso had built up her largest lead of the day: 45 seconds.  After cresting the final peak in Newton, Erkesso seemed to be slowing down; she had gone from running a 5:27 mile to a 5:48 in the span of a two-mile stretch.  Turning her head at the top of the hill, her braids swinging, she checked to see who was behind her.  Erkesso had seemed to be struggling and was grabbing her stomach.

Behind her, unheralded Russian Tatyana Pushkareva was coming closer bit by bit, and Erkesso knew it. The gap fell from 40 seconds to 20 seconds as the 24 year-old Pushkareva made her way into Boston.  At one point, the former ballroom dancer even waved to one of the camera men as she was "feeling great," she later said.

"My plan was to stay in the back of the pack and run the second half faster than the first," said Pushkareva through a translator.

Pushkareva, who came in with a personal best of 2:30:30 from last November's Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio Marathon, a race she won, was charging fast.  She covered the distance between the 30-K and 35-K marks in 16:46, nearly 45 seconds faster than Erkesso.

But Erkesso, who set a course record at the Chevron Houston Marathon just 92 days ago, had enough in the tank to get her to the finish line first.  Pushkareva simply couldn't catch her.

"It is the tradition for the Russian to finish very close in second place," joked Pushkareva, referring to the 2007 race where Alevtina Biktimirova got out-kicked by Tune in the final meters.  "So if I was second, probably next year I will be first."

Erkesso ended up crossing the tape in 2:26:11, just three seconds ahead of Pushkareva, earning her first win of a World  Marathon Majors event and $150,000 in prize money.  Third place was taken by Salina Kosgei in a sprint finish over Ethiopian Waynishet Girma, 2:28:35 to 2:28:36, despite complaining of a hamstring injury which was brought on by a fall in the ING New York City Marathon last November.

Erkesso credited her preparation for her victory.

"During the training I endured very hard training," she said through coach Adilo.

Top Women's Results:
 1. Teyba Erkesso, 27, ETH           2:26:11    $150,000
 2. Tatyana Pushkareva, 24, RUS      2:26:14 PB   75,000
 3. Salina Kosgei, 33, KEN           2:28:35      40,000
 4. Waynishet Girma, 24, ETH         2:28:36 PB   25,000
 5. Bruna Genovese, 33, ITA          2:29:12      15,000
 6. Lidiya Grigoryeva, 36, RUS       2:30:31      12,000
 7. Yurika Nakamura, 24, JPN         2:30:40       9,000
 8. Sun Weiwei, 25, CHN              2:31:14       7,400
 9. Nailya Yulamanova, 29, RUS       2:31:48       5,700
10. Albina Mayorova, 32, RUS         2:31:55       4,200
11. Agnes Kiprop, 30, KEN            2:33:21       2,600
12. Koren Yal, 23, ETH               2:33:48       2,100
13. Paige Higgins, 27, Flagstaff, AZ 2:36:00       1,800
14. Madai Perez, 30, MEX             2:36:04       1,700
15. Meseret Legese, 22, ETH          2:37:00       1,500




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