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London Live 2002

Good morning and welcome to the London Marathon, a race that promises to be one for the memory.

The women start with the 2 pacesetters taking them through the 1st mile in 5:17. A group of runners runners made up of Paula Radcliffe, Deratu Tulu, Joyce Chepchumba and the Japanese runner.

The pace has settled down now with a group of 10 runners formed at the front. The the group is been led by, you`ve guessed it, Radcliffe with Tulu alongside her.

The splits are : 5:17 ; 5:27 ; 5:21 ; 5:31 and 5:29. 27:05 for the 1st 5mile.

The pacesetters are no where to be seen.

The main field inclusive of our ‘dazzling’ men’s elite field wait for the start.

Still early days on this fine morning, Radcliffee looks confident running tall and poised. Even though its early days Tulu looks as though she is ready to pounce. Great miles to come.

The Cutty Sark, the great trader, is rounded and the pacesetters can be seen. The last mile was covered in 5:38.

Such is the speed of the wheelchairs, that they are carving through the elite women’s field and will catch the women within 2miles.

The chasing woman I had, is Chepkemei also of Kenya, and not Chepchumba the previous winner and course record holder.

The conditions certaily look warm.

Steinle is still in the lead pack and he certainly looks comfortable. Gebreselasse, the ‘little general’ is not smiling, but he is certainly relaxed. The lead runners pass through a water station and the Ethiopian ‘cameradie’ can be witnessed as they pass the drinks amongst themselves.

Unfortunately, the coverage of the men’s event is not up to standard, however I am sure as their race unfolds the coverage will be better. 28:36 for 6miles

Paula has made an early bid for home and the familiar site of her head bobbing is way out in front on her own. Chepchumba is well known for her stalking on this course and the race is by no menas over. Tulu is tucked in behind the Kenyan. The rivallry between these two East African countries is still as fierce as ever. The half time is 71:04 to the chasing 71:54.

Strange Radcliffe on a solo run and Gebrselasse is sitting in the pack. The last 5Km was 14:53 and yet there are still 13 men in the pack with the 2 pacesetters upfront. Tergat stalking at the back. Seems like old times seeing the tall slender figure of the Kenyan at the back with the small bouncing figure of the Ethiopian at the forefront.

Tulu and Chepchumba are doing the chasing now, they have left the safety of the pack.

The last mile was 5:35 and Paula has had enough, she has edged away from the group. Please, someone tell Paula to be patient. Its the last 10Km, that counts. Steady Paula.

The elite men’s filed is lined up. The elite color for the year 2002 is blue. Get out there now and get your color blue. My favourite color actually. (smile)

Set your watches they off. What an amazing sight.
The desired pace 5:40 per mile for the 1st 21Km. Let’s see.

Just Paula and the pacesetters now. 5:21 and 5:25. Can she maintain this pace. Remember 5:20’s is a 2:20 pace and the women’s course record is 2:23. She has got her drinks, no problem there. A gap of about 80m back to the chasing group. its all so easy so early in the marathon.

Was it all hype. The elite men are running closer to 3min per K pace than to 4.40 mile pace(4:48)

Paula is sticking to her task, running shoulder to shoulder with the pacesetter. And believe me the pacesetter is looking worse for wear. Must be a terrible job for the pacesetter when you have your job taken from you. Do you think she will still get her pacesetter’s check (smile) ?

The 2 pacesetters and a group comprising of all the big names poised. Mark Steinle of Britain has been bold and is sitting with the front group.

Radcliffe has said “au revoir” to the pacesetter and she is out on her own. The chase group is working as a ‘pack’. She now has a 28sec lead at 20Km, 67:24.

My good heavens ! Paula, reeled off 3 miles in the following splits, as she approached 20m, they were 5:11 , 5:14 , 5:12 suicidal or phenomenal ?

The men 4:47 ; 4:50 ; 4:51 ; 4:41 ; 4:56 for the last 5m. Not exactly world pace, but a time that equates toa sub 2:06:30 marathon and a course record. Such is the depth of this field that there are still 10 athletes packed together with Steinle still there. With a PB (personal best) OF 2:10, he on paper, is certainly the slowest. Will he have a ‘blinder’ ? Still early days though. A slight surge after the water point will it be maintained.

Paula Radcliffe Britain’s bestRadcliffe has upped the tempo, is this a wise move, will she have anything in reserve for the last 6Km’s. The 28 yr old is certainly stamping her authority on this event. Will she pay the price ? Only time will tell. 18mile in 1:36

Paula, still out in front and into the last 10Km of the race. Her cadence looks good, her arm carrage more fatigued, but such is the ‘grit’ of this athlete that she is now pumping her arms to keep her momentum. Still no drop off in pace. A course record is certainly on the cards if she maintains. 21m in 1:52:06. If she runs the last 5mile in 30mins she will shatter the course record, she can certainly do that. Or does she want more ? Remember the London Marathon acknowledges their course record as the World Record as the other marathon world bests are set in events where the women run with the men. Something London does not acknowledge. So, in London standards we are witnessing an attempt on the World Record.

There is no stopping Paula, she has found her distance, she reeled off the last mile in 5:08. Phenomenal.

The men’s group has thinned out and quite unbelievably Steinle is still in contention as they pass through 15m in 1:11:39. Their last 5miles reeled off in 4:49 ; 4:46 ; 4:49 ; 4:45 ; 4:39.

Now they racing the pack is immediately reduced to 7, with the min protagonists to the fore. El Mouaziz is renowned for breaking now. But, this time Gebreselasse won’t let him dominate.

Radcliffe passes through 40Km in 2:12 she is on time for a sub 2:20. Only the 3rd woman athlete in history to achieve such a distinction and this on her debut.

This is clearly Radcliffe’s race and day, with the Japanese athlete Tosa moving into 2nd, a distant 2nd. Radcliffe is flying, she looks like a finely tuned race horse striding out to imminent glory. Superb.

Radcliffe is into the last straight of the race and the clock reads 2:18:56 as she crosses the line, the 2nd fastest time ever and a world best for women only. Well done Paula, you have found your distance and you deserve all the accolades that are going to be heaped on you. Magnificant.

The two Russian athletes, Svetlana Zakharova 2nd and Lyudmila Petrova 3rd, have caught and passed the Japanese athlete, Tosa 3rd, in the last mile and all the 1st 4 athletes are within the old course record.

Chepkembei recovers after ‘losing her breakfast’ over the cobblestones to finish 5th.

Khannouchi Tergat Gebreselasse locked in battleThe Men : 21miles and it is Khannouchi, Tergat and Gebreselasse locked in battle.

We in for a great race here, Haile is relaxed and Tergat is stalking, with Khannouchi shoulder to shoulder with the Ethiopian.

There is a duel on. Khannouchi has the opportunity to prove his worth and he is letting them know that he means business as he goes to the front.

Gebreselasse won’t have anything of it and he retakes the lead. With the change in pace Tergat is ‘yo yoing’ back and forth off the back. He is however maintaining one pace which will serve him well over the last 1Km. 22m in 1:45:12

Across the cobbles, you would have thought that Tergat with his X-Country pedigree would make his move now ?

As they emerge from the tunnel, the 3 are still locked together. The clock reads 1:54:48 at 24miles, World Record pace ? Khannouchi is undoubtably proving his class as a true marathoner.

Khannouchi pushes the pace through the water point and Tergat moves into 2nd. They have dropped Gebreselasse and Khannouchi is pulling Tergat clear.

Gebreselasse is gone. Khannouchi is piling on the pressure, they into the last mile and Khannouchi is pulling away.

I eat my hat, until now Khannouchi had not proved his undoubted class. Will he set a new world record ?

Come on Khannouchi, 2:04 go for the record.

His into the last straight NOW 2:05:08


Tergat 2nd in 2:05:48 and Gebreselasse 3rd in 2:06:35 and Mouaziz 4th all sub 2:07

See The London Summary [ more ]

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