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2003 Live Report

The Boston Marathon starts off under sunny blue skies.

The race as it unfolds :

The 1st mile of 4:49 .. 2nd mile 4:46 … The weather conditions are certain to play a part today, when the race moves into the hills around 17 miles … Margaret Okayo [Kenya], has gone into an early lead … With Vincent Kipsos [Kenya] grabbing the Men’s race by the scruff of the neck, opening a gap early on .. Rodgers Rop [Kenya] defending champion and favourite, is content to sit within the chasing pack, conserving his energy.

The Men’s splits have been as follows : 1st 5K leader 15:01 with pack 15:11

Robert Cheruiyot 2003Okayo is certainly running more aggressively than last year, when her coach considered her to have broken too early, this year however a fast early pace is the intention.

Rop still leads the Men through 10K in 30:40, after blasting through 4 miles in 19:19. However, he does not look composed and is somewhat not giving off an air of confidence.

Excitingly, for American viewers, Marla Runyan has moved to tracking the Women’s leader Okayo.

Official Men 15km: 1. Timothy Cherigat 0:46:02

The feedback has been poor, and we now learn that Lyobov Denisova of Russia is leading and has just been caught 42min 30 into the race. Women’s 10K time : 1. Margaret Okayo 0:34:02; 2. Lyubov Denisova 0:34:03; 3. Marla Runyan 0:34:03

Kipsos is about to be caught, but the unbelievable news is that there is no Rop in the chasing pack. 12 athletes make up the chasers. The 10 mile split was 49:29 for Kipsos

There are now 4 women in the lead pack, with Svetlana Zakharova of Russia joining the trio. Amazingly, Zakharova passed through 10K 34:26, and has now closed the gap, is this a case of her speeding up or with the front trio slowing ?

Amazingly, almost 1Hr into the race and Kipsos, has taken off again, opening up about 50m plus. 12miles 59:27 with the chasers 10sec in arrears. Runyan tows the women, and is probably the best place to be for the athlete who is registered as legally blind.

Men’s Official times after 20km: 1. Vincent Kipsos 1:01:43; 2. Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot 1:01:54; 3. Elly K. Rono 1:01:54; 4. Martin Lel 1:01:54; 5. Timothy Cherigat 1:01:54; 6. Fedor V. Ryzhov 1:01:54; 7. Wilson Kipkemboi Kigen 1:01:54; 8. Eddy Hellebuyck 1:01:54; 9. Christopher Cheboiboch 1:01:55; 10. Benjamin Kosgei Kimutai 1:01:55

It is reported that Rop, the defending champion, has rejoined the chasing pack, this is mainly due to the pace dropping .. or is it Rop preparing his assault, only time will tell ?

Men : 65:08 through 21K … 3 chasers closed to within 3 seconds.

Just after passing through halfway, Rop bursts through the runners to take the lead, and begins his game of ‘cat and mouse’.

68mins into the race and Zakharova has broken clear from the other 3 women. 20K – 68:57

Okayo is the 1st to close the gap, howeevr she doesn’t track the leader and is happy to float across the road, leaving the Russian on her own.

The Men’s pack now consists of 9 athletes, and it is more like a game of chess than a test of speed. It is getting warmer and warmer, as well as this being a Kenyan trial for the marathon team to the Paris World Championships, so a more ‘cagey’ approach is somewhat expected..

There is mention of a headwind, and this spells danger for the slower runners, as the chances of dehydration is far higher.

Women at the halfway point – 21.1K it is the Russian Zakharova and the defending champion locked together in combat, the time is a somewhat slow 72:39. With Denisova and Runyan close together in 72:49 in 72:50.

Zakharova is continually testing Okayo and is dropping off the pace, only to work to close the gap, she does not look as comfortable as a year ago.

1Hr 27min into the Women’s and Okayo edges past on the Russian’s left, she takes her water and eases away from Zakharova

Rop applies pressure on the pack of 8 around him, and soon splits the field to 4 .. He certainly looks in control, and one wonders what he was up to early on ? Did they maybe send Kipsos out to burn off the other fancied runners? Certainly, a hint of gamesmanship .. This looks like a battle of 1 Nike [Rop] against the 3 Fila athletes.

Okayo is fighting hard, however she is not making a massive impact on Zakharova. The Russian had a great run in 2nd last year at London, and certainly has got the ability. On the downhills Okayo breezes away with effortless control, whereas the heel – toe style of the Russian gives the impression that she is digging her heels in, not allowing the natural momentum of her body weight to take her downwards.

Rop slows the pace, allowing the 2 closest chasers to join the pack, now made up of 3 Fila and the 3 ‘red shirts’ .. No sooner said, and Rop accelerates again.

Men’s Official times for 25km: 1. Rodgers Rop 1:17:25; 2. Benjamin Kosgei Kimutai 1:17:25; 3. Elly K. Rono 1:17:25; 4. Christopher Cheboiboch 1:17:26; 5. Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot 1:17:26; 6. Timothy Cherigat 1:17:26; 7. Martin Lel 1:17:26; 8. David Kiptum Busienei 1:17:26; 9. Laban Kipkemboi 1:17:26; 10. Karl Johan J. Rasmussen 1:17:58

The Norwegian, Rasmussen is presently placed in the top 10, and it will certainly be a great achievement if he can maintain this position, as he is the only one listed below, who comes from less than warm climes.

In the Women, it is a ‘ding dong’ battle, with Denisova joining the leaders. Zakharova is yet again back in front, and her pressure has a telling affect on Okayo, who yet again drops off the back .. It is a Russian conflict now, whether or not Okayo will come back only time will tell. She is working to close the gap, but doesn’t look as fluid as 10 minutes ago.

Men’s Official times after 30km: 1. Rodgers Rop 1:33:05; 2. Benjamin Kosgei Kimutai 1:33:05; 3. Martin Lel 1:33:05; 4. Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot 1:33:05; 5. Timothy Cherigat 1:33:05; 6. Christopher Cheboiboch 1:33:06; 7. David Kiptum Busienei 1:33:25; 8. Laban Kipkemboi 1:33:32; 9. Elly K. Rono 1:33:40; 10. Eddy Hellebuyck 1:34:48
In the Men, a surge from the Fila brigade has left the ‘red shirts’ staggering, as Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot goes for the win. He passes through 22 miles in 1:49 plus and is working hard to maintain his lead. He is not a neat runner, however his effort is maintaining the gap.

Women’s Official times after 25km: 1. Svetlana Zakharova 1:26:09; 2. Margaret Okayo 1:26:11; 3. Lyubov Denisova 1:26:32; 4. Marla Runyan 1:26:34; 5. Joyce Chepchumba Koech 1:26:41; 6. Firaya Sultanova-Zhdanova 1:27:02; 7. Albina Ivanova 1:27:15; 8. Esther Kiplagat 1:28:06; 9. Milena Glusac 1:30:29; 10. Jill Gaitenby 1:30:55

Through 23 miles, and Cheruiyot is working really hard, he is ungainly, however the person chasing, Benjamin Kosgei Kimutai, looks very smooth. However, it is often not the smoothest looking athlete who wins, but the one who can dig deep enough, and Cheruiyot has opened his own mine, with the amount of digging he is doing.

Zakharova and Cheruiyot have broken free of their pursuers, however Cheruiyot is nearing the finish, and has just thrown in a 4:36 downhill mile. This should put paid to Kimutai.

Cheruiyot fades slightly on the uphill, but is able to use his momentum on the downhill, however he is continually looking over his shoulder to the smooth striding Kimutai.

Cheruiyot turns the corner, raising his hand to the crowds on his way to a great victory in the Boston 2003 race.

Cheruiyot wins in 2:10:10 from Kimutai 2nd in 2:10:33 with Martin Lel in 3rd.

Zakharova has fought a gallant battle to break first the powers of Okayo and then Denisova, as she strides towards victory.

Svetlana Zakharova of Russia wins in 2:25:19 with Denisova 2nd in 2:26:51 with Joyce Chepchumba powering through strongly over the closing miles to take 3rd in 2:27:20

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