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The IF onlys – comments

In any running event, as in any sport, there are always things that can go wrong in a race or things that the athlete could have or should have done. The marathon is no different however the time span involved plays right into the hands of Murphy’s Law, lady Luck or Providence itself.

New York City 2002, was no different and the post race comments and discussions of hindsight was evident.

Sonia O’Sullivan Ireland – IF only – a disappointing 12th with 2:32:06
There is no doubting Sonia O’Sullivan’s track and cross country pedigree, or her ability over the road. Throw in her tenacity, which is always on display and you have a formidable athlete who can produce results of the highest order.

New York 2002, was not to be the Irish heroine’s race and it has sadly led her to make comments regarding her future over the distance. Fortunately, history has proven that ‘hasty’ words said after a marathon are often soon forgotten. I for one certainly hope so, as she still has a lot to offer over the distance.

This is what was said about the race : Sonia O’Sullivan admitted she got her tactics wrong after a disappointing performance in the New York City Marathon saw the Irishwoman run out of steam in this year’s race.

O’Sullivan, after heeding advice to not go off too quickly, said: “My legs were getting stiff as I’m not used to running that slow, even when training. I suppose inexperience did come into it. Now I’m thinking I should have gone off and run my own race.”

Hindsight :
O’Sullivan added: “With hindsight, knowing what pace I can run at, I should have gone off much quicker. But everyone had been telling me to take things slowly in the first half of the race. It’s all right saying afterwards what would have been right and what I did wrong. But I honestly wish I had gone faster at the beginning. Some of the other girls also thought the same.

Hopefully, the world gets to see this Irish legend get another crack at the distance, as there is no doubt she has the ability.

Meb Keflezighi – First American on his debut and 9th overall with 2:12:35
“The last 10-K, it just wasn’t there. My splits got pretty slow,” Keflezighi said afterward. “I guess I hit the wall. Mark Carroll went by in Central Park, and said, ‘Let’s go, Meb,’ but I couldn’t pick up the pace with him.” Keflezighi professed to be somewhat disappointed in his time, and when asked about running another marathon, answered, “I’m not anxious to. I like the 10-K better.”

Marla Runyan – First American women on her debut and 5th overall with 2:27:10
Stargardt’s disease, the ailment that has left Runyan with minimal vision, created the possibility of problems in a marathon. But Runyan has won national titles in track and has done well in shorter road races, and she had few problems here.

Marathon organizers assigned a cyclist to follow her.

Runyan, a 33-year-old California native who lives in Eugene, Ore., was queasy after the race. Still, she was her usual cheerful self.

“I had a lot of fun out there today,” she said of a test that few others consider fun. “It was muscular fatigue that kept me from running faster. If I had more strength in my legs, I could have finished stronger. “I really enjoyed it until about 24 miles, but actually it was a great experience to have, with all that crowd support. I love that. It surprisingly didn’t feel as long as I thought it would have seemed like. It was going by pretty quickly. “I wouldn’t do anything different in terms of tactics. I had to run my own race. I couldn’t get too caught up at the end and die.”

“I wrote down a goal of 2:28 and a fifth-place finish,” she said. “But I really thought finishing fifth in this field was a long shot, so it couldn’t have been much better.”

Athlete summary
McCANN The Commonwealth Games champion from Australia finished in 2:27:51, impressive because her collision with Jevtic left her with a scraped knee and a limp.

LORNAH KIPLAGAT The Kenyan might have run considerably faster than her 2:28:41 had she not dropped back after the Madison Avenue Bridge, the last of the five bridges on the course.

PETROVA The winner here two years ago struggled home this time in 2:29:00 because of leg cramps. “As soon as I tried to improve my pace,” she said, “they would come back.”

Joyce Chepchumba – Kenya 1st with 2:25:56
Chepchumba finally added New York to her Triple Crown, having won Chicago and London previously. This was her 4th attempt at winning.

“I have been trying and trying and trying,” she said. “People everywhere were cheering and cheering. This was worth it for me to win here.”

Rodgers Rop – Kenya 1st with 2:08.07
Late in the race Rop grabbed his right side, feeling a stitch. Last year, he was to succumb to the winner and he had promised it would not happen this year by stating before the race, “If the leader pushes, I will go with him, even if I die by the roadside”

Confident that the stitch would dissipate, convinced that his competitors had weakened, Rop made a final move in a race of clever and forceful surges to win.

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