1Hr 35 into the race and Russia's Svetlana Zakharova, the Boston
2003 Winner [PB 2:21:31 Chicago 2001], begins to apply pressure.
This is a false dawning, however it does shed the lead bus of a
further 4 passengers.
Just after 30K [split]
and there were still 13 athletes left in the group. Ndereba expressed
her disatisfaction at her heels being clipped [ a sentiment echoed
by Noguchi after the race, that Bong-sil Ham had continually clipped
her heels ] The Kenyan moved to the side, providing space for
the runner to come through and then 1Hr54 into the race, on a slight
down gradient, she began edging ahead of the others.
Both Japanese runners, Noguchi and Chiba followed the move immediately.
Visually it seemed to be effortless. Turning left and still within
a minute of when first applying the pressure, Ndereba had the opportunity
to lean forward into a further downhill. On this occasion, the impact
it was having on the others could be noted by the gaps that were
opening up between the leader and the rest of the scattered pack.
What at first didn't look like anything was now turning into an
attack of note. Approaching 1Hr 57 and the damage had been done,
only the 3 Japanese runners Noguchi, Chiba and Sakamoto remained
with direct striking distance. The gap was 1 second to these 3.
The Korean Ham and the Ethiopian Alemu had moved away from the rest
of the runners and were within 1 to 2 seconds of the 3 runners from
the Land of the Rising Sun.
Ndereba was in complete control. Turning left 1Hr 57 on the clock
and the tiny Noguchi was the only runner left within 1 second of
the Kenyan leader. She was undoubtedly using her experience from
the Boston course to good effect. The field was now spread in single
file behind. Within a space of 5 minutes Ndereba was able to apply
the correct pressure on a part of the course which was beneficial
to her running style, and she had done so with tremendous effect.
At 35K [split]
2:00:47, she had a slender 4 second lead however her composure was
that of a person on their way to victory. This is the marathon however
and we know anything can happen and often does happen.
Not on this occasion though. 2Hr 12min into the race and the fight
was on for the minor places. Ndereba seemed solid in 1st, Noguchi
had all but cemented her 2nd spot. Sakamoto had moved into 3rd and
enjoyed a 30 - 40m advantage over the 4th placed Chiba. The 4th
spot was to change shortly thereafter as Ham [ PRK - People's Republic
of Korea - also known as North Korea ] bolted past Chiba. This incredibly
seemed to jolt Chiba out of her daze and even though Ham was looking
and working quite effectively the Japanese runner fought back with
tenacity. She caught Ham and the momentum gained, as well as the
fight to rid herself of the Korean, took her to within striking
distance of Sakamoto. Passing through 40K [split]
she had opened a safe 8 second gap on her rival and had closed to
within 1 second of Sakamato.
Ndereba had gone clear by 20 seconds from Noguchi, with the 3rd
placed runner a further 43 seconds back. Victory was assured for
the Kenyan. For the 2nd placed Noguchi, finishing first out of her
country's athletes in a medal position would book her ticket to
the 2004 Olympics in Athens, so she was not going to allow any of
her compatriots to within striking distance. Chiba would move into
3rd, but couldn't do any damage on the lead Noguchi held over her.
Click for large image
Ndereba took victory to cement her place in the history books by
winning a major Championship Marathon, and in the process she took
away the myth that she was unable to race in such company. Added
to this was the setting of a new CR with her time of 2:23:55.
The Japanese finished 2nd in 2:24:14 .. 3rd in 2:25:09 and 4th
in 2:25:25 ... in the process winning the World Cup team event by
a large margin in the process.
Women's Marathon Results - Sunday, August 31, 2003 : click
Time-to-Run Track World Championships