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2002 Live Report

Good day and welcome to the live report from the Boston Marathon.

They’re OFF. Even though there have been rain showers before hand the temperatures are expected to climb as high as 80 degrees. What a day to live up to after yesterday’s spectacular London Marathon.

Rodgers Rop Boston 2002Can the defending men’s and women’s champions, Lee Bong Ju of Korea and Catherine Ndereba of Kenya defend their titles ?

The men’s lead group as formed early and Lee Bong Ju is prominent amongst the front runners.

Good to see The Blues Brothers making their appearance felt amongst the mass of runners.

We 16min into the race and we are yet to receive a split from the frontrunners, the event is about the masses however it is the lead elite runners that make the headlines.

Finally we get the 1st mile split : The lead pack went through the first mile in a very slow 5:08, despite a sharp downhill start for the first 400 meters. A definite tactical battle on our hands ?

As expected the Two-time Boston women’s champion, Catherine Ndereba leads the women’s field. She is planning an assault on the women’s course record.

The men hit two miles in 10:20, and 5K in 15:58. Rono, who won the Pittsburgh Marathon last year, is still leading a large pack, which includes Lee, Guerra, Bor, Rop and Chelang’a, among many others. A pace almost slower than Radcliffe’s overall winning time yesterday. This is a definite ‘cat and mouse’ affair developing.

Catherine Ndereba passes through 5Km in 17:02 This is not a course record pace, however things can still heat up. Margaret Okayo, winner of the New York City Marathon is also within the pack at 5K

The men pass through 10K with Elly K. Rono still leading in 31:28

At this pace there should be no problem for all the leading contenders. And the same applies in the women’s field where a comment of “That is slow” going through 5Km was heard.

With a lead pack like this anything can happen Abner Chipu of South Africa has been mentioned of an athlete in good shape. He has no pedigree however after his fellow South African’s performance yesterday we may be in for a surprise.

46:44 through 15K and a pack of 20 so athletes are still in contention, at this pace and with so many athletes mistakes happen. Watch those water points for ‘crashes’

The women pass through 10Km in 33:41. They have quickened up ever so slightly.

Silvio Guerra of Ecudor, who is aiming for victory this year is also tucked snuggly away in this lead pack. Laban Nkete the ‘flyweight’ runner who burst to the front 2 years ago is also prominant, will he be patient this year or will he again take the ‘bull by the horns’ when the moment takes him ?

The women pass through 15K in 50:23 and there are now only 6 in the pack. A further 28 secs back to next group. That was 16:42 for 5K. 16:40 is 2:20 pace. 50:20 for 15K is 2:20 pace. They have put the slow start behind them and they are now on course record pace, unfortunately the 2nd half of Boston is slower, so whether a course record is on, is another question ?

The men pass through 20K in 1:02:02 and we get a quick glimpse of Abner Chipu, he is there as well as all the other protagonists. The field has lost at least 5-6 of the large pack and is now trimmed down to about 20.

65:20 through half, a 3min K, that would have trimmed the field down.

A water point and the athletes ‘scatter’ to fetch their specially prepared bottles. Straight after the water point the Kenyan Rop injects some pace and the athletes are left gasping. They will need to work a bit to close this gap. He is joined by his fellow Kenyans and the pace begins to slow slightly. Allowing the pack to close.

The slowing pace allows at least 10 of the original bunch to form, if it slows any further the rest of the athletes will be back in contention.

The men’s race is a long way from run, however I feel the action will definitely begin round Heartbreak Hill. Will Lee Bong-Ju be able to hang onto his title ? Rop was toying with the field there and it has done the trick, ridding the pack of another 6 athletes, ‘who could only have got in the way’ . Almost 1Hr 30 into the race. The men passed through 25K in 1:17:12

The women pass through 21Km in 1:10:42 and there are 4 athletes left. This race will be decided between the 2 Kenyans Ndereba and Okayo in my opinion.

1:32:30 into the race and the event has become an “African Affair” with the 2 Kenyans leading the Women’s race and a group of 5 leading the men. With Kiprop prominant.

At 25K in the women’s race Yingjie of China leads in 1:23:29. However, this is soon to change as Okayo applies the pressure pulling Ndereba clear. Yes, this is their own personal race.

At 1:42:00 into the race there are only 2 contenders in both the women’s and men’s race. Cheboiboch and Rop breaking clear. Rop applies pressure on a downhill and opens 5metres. He signals to his compatriot to come join him.

Is this too easy for Rop, as he glances back with a smile on his face ?

Okayo wants this, she is applying tremendous pressure to Ndereba. However, Ndereba claws herself back into contention, with such a ferocious battle we may still witness a course record, yes or no or maybe ?

Rop is cruising the downhills and in contrast Cheboiboch is fighting to get back on level terms. I feel the uphill will bring him back into contention, if not it will be race over. Shut the shop ands come back next year. Wait, Cheboiboch is almost there, will he now attack on the uphill ?

Strange Rop continues to smile. Is he really this confident ? Downhill now, and again he pulls away. Let it be known tht an athlete cruising the downhills often feels as though they are running uphill once they hit the flat.

Cheboiboch is gritting his teeth and fighting to draw back to Rop. Rop on the other hand looks as though he could stop for a bite to eat and carry on at this pace all day long. Another stretching downhill and Cheboiboch gets left by 10-20 metres. He is not giving in though. Here comes the uphill will he close the gap again.

At 35K the time was 1:47:11. We have just reached 2Hrs and Rop looks as though he is on a ‘saunter’. While the women are still at battle. Okayo still pushing the pace. This looks like a women only race, as there are no men in sight.

Rop goes through 40K in 2:02:04. Can Cheboiboch close the gap, it does not look as though it is possible.

Where Rop is smooth, Cheboiboch’s arms are ‘flaying’. If only he could get on level terms, we would have a very interesting finish on our hands. Okayo is doing a lot of power running from 20 odd minutes out.

We into the finish straight and Rop is going to wrap this up. Only 2 seconds in it in the end. 2:09:08 to 2:09:10 unofficial. A negative split at Boston is good running.

Make that 2:09:02, a PB by 49 seconds.

Back to the women. Okayo has made another surge 2:14 into the race. Is this the surge that will win her the title ?

Rop says they were cramps not smiles. Had me fooled.

Okayo’s surge was devastating, she has pulled herself clear and has opened up a gap of 50m, which continues to grow.

She is supreme, she is flying can she go under 2:20 ?

No sub 2:20, sub 2:21 in sight, 2:20:42, a new course record . SPLENDID. A PB by 3min 20 odd, not too shabby.

2:09:02 to 2:09:05 “official”

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