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Khannouchi takes London 2002

The London Marathon lived up to more than its expectations and put on a spectacular show for distance running.

The true spirit of athletics was revealed where grit, tenacity and desire were present. These ingredients helped by the weather and a field assembled, brimming with immense talent, provided a new world record in the men’s race and a world’s best in a women’s only event.

London Marathon Men 2002The race for the men was not as explosive as one would have expected earlier on and on occasions the splits recorded did not give hint of a sub2:06 winning time.

In the women’s Paula Radcliffe’s [Britain] dash for glory, so early in race provided viewers nervous moments. As this was her debut many people, I being one, suspected that she would ‘over cook it’, however this was not to happen and her display of solo running will go down as the greatest exhibition of frontrunning in women’s marathon history. There were no male pacesetters or company of any form throughout the event and her winning time of 2:18:56 was less than 10 seconds shy of the official world record. However, in my books, this performance stands head and shoulders above any women’s marathon performance recorded.

For the men the prospect of a world record attack by Haile Gebreselasse of Ethiopia was highly tantalising and one would be forgiven for believing, that this living legend of distance running would reign supreme in the end. Such is his talent. In the end he had to be satisfied with a sub 2:07 performance of 2:06:35, on his official debut over the distance.

Gebreselasse’s old foe and adversary, Paul Tergat of Kenya, was again to the fore and was able to put one over on his long-standing rival by finishing third, in the 3rd fastest time run by an individual. His time was 2:05:48. Tergat is yet to win a marathon on his 3 attempts, however he is showing that he now has a command of the distance and one can only suspect that Chicago in Fall will be the event where he may show his dominance.

The man who stole the show, was Khallid Khannouchi, originally of Morocco and now a citizen of the USA. Khannouchi bided his time and initially pounced at the water point with 2 miles to go. This attack undid Gebreselasse and with a mile to go, he rid himself easily of Tergat as he scorched away to a 10 second victory and a new World Record of 2:05:38. Breaking his own record and on a course which is known not to be as swift as Chicago.

For this reason, I believe the world record will be taken below 2:05 within the next year. That is, if all the right ingredients are provided on the day, as they were at London.

Below are the results of the Top 10 men and women. After will follow a further short summary of the other performances that stood out.

Top 10 men
Pos. BIB Name Class Time
1 00002 KHANNOUCHI, KHALID (USA) M18 2:05:38
2 00011 TERGAT, PAUL (KEN) M18 2:05:48
3 00010 GEBRSELASSIE, HAILE (ETH) M18 2:06:35
4 00001 EL MOUAZIZ, ABDELKADER (MOR) M18 2:06:52
5 00016 SYSTER, IAN (RSA) M18 2:07:06
6 00009 BALDINI, STEFANO (ITA) M18 2:07:29
7 00003 PINTO, ANTONIO (POR) M18 2:09:10
8 00014 STEINLE, MARK () M18 2:09:17
9 00004 JIFAR, TESFAYE (ETH) M18 2:09:50
10 00042 EL HATTAB, MOHAMMED (MOR) M18 2:11:50

Top 10 women
Pos. BIB Name Class Time
1 00111 RADCLIFFE, PAULA (GBR) W18 2:18:56
2 00103 ZAKHAROVA, SVETLANA (RUS) W18 2:22:31
3 00106 PETROVA, LYUDMILA (RUS) W18 2:22:33
4 00104 TOSA, REIKO (JPN) W18 2:22:46
5 00105 CHEPKEMEI, SUSAN (KEN) W18 2:23:19
6 00102 CHEPCHUMBA, JOYCE (KEN) W18 2:26:53
7 00107 SKVORTSOVA, SILVIA (RUS) W18 2:27:07
8 00125 SEMENOVA, ZINAIDA (RUS) W40 2:27:45
9 00101 TULU, DERARTU (ETH) W18 2:28:37
10 00108 GEMECHU, SHITAYE (ETH) W18 2:28:58

Another performance of the day, that also stood out in my mind, was the ‘dazzling’ performance of the athlete from South Africa by the name of Ian Syster. For further details see his profile before London.

Syster came into London with a 2:13:30 personal best, which he recorded when winning South Africa’s National Marathon Championships on his debut in 2001. And he left with a phenomenal time of 2:07:06 for 5th place. A time which buoys him into the limelight as a leading contender on the world stage.

Also of note, was the fine performance of Mark Steinle of Britain, who stuck to the task of going with the world’s best. He achieved the goal of going sub 2:10, however with better preparation he is sure to go sub2:09, sooner rather than later.

All in all, a London Marathon event to be remembered.

Go to London Marathon report [ more ]

From a Time-to-Run source

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