Paula Radcliffe successfully defends her New York City Marathon title to become the second woman to win the race three times.
Radcliffe wins third NYC Marathon
NEW YORK // Paula Radcliffe successfully defended her title at the New York City Marathon yesterday to become the second woman to win the race three times. Marilson Gomes dos Santos of Brazil won the men's race for the second time in three years, passing Abderrahim Goumri with about one mile to go. On a cool, windy day, 38,377 runners started the race. There was tragedy along the way sadly though as a Brazilian runner died late last night, several hours after he crossed the finish line and complained to race officials he felt ill.
Carlos Jose Gomes, 58, of Sao Paulo died at Lennox Hill hospital according to police. The cause of death was not immediately released. At least two other runners fell ill during the race and had to be hospitalised. Unlike Radcliffe's tight victories in 2004 and 2007, the world record holder from Britain pulled away from Ludmila Petrova of Russia after 22 miles to win comfortably in 2 hours, 23 minutes, 56 seconds.
"The last two times it's been a really close finish at the end," Radcliffe said. "It was nice to make it a little easier on the husband." Finishing behind Radcliffe were a veteran proving she can still keep up with younger runners and a marathon rookie showing she can race with the best in the world. Petrova, 40, was second in 2:25:43, the oldest woman to finish in the top two since Priscilla Welch of Britain won in 1987 at the age of 42.
Kara Goucher took third in 2:25:53, becoming the first American to make the podium since Anne Marie Letko was third in 1994. She posted the fastest time in a marathon debut by an American woman, breaking Deena Kastor's mark set in this race in 2001. Gomes won in 2:08:43. Goumri settled for the runner-up spot for the second straight year in 2:09:07, and Daniel Rono of Kenya was third in 2:11:22.
Grete Waitz won the race a record nine times, the last in 1988. The NYC Marathon was again the site of a stirring comeback for Radcliffe. As in 2004, she rebounded from a disappointing Olympic performance with a victory. Last year, she won her first marathon since the birth of her daughter less than 10 months earlier. Radcliffe has won eight of the 10 marathons she has started - all but her two Olympics, when she was thwarted by health problems both times.
"It does make it frustrating because you think, 'Why can I get it right all the time in New York and I can't get it right there?'" Radcliffe said. "But sometimes you have to take what life gives you." Radcliffe led nearly the entire race, taking the initiative to set the pace as her competitors tried to use her as a shield to protect them from the wind. "I looked back, and it was just like everybody was in single file behind me," she said with a laugh.
"It was like, 'Come on, we've got the whole road.'" Petrova, the 2000 NYC Marathon champion, set a Masters world record with her time, breaking Welch's mark set in London in 1987. Petrova was fifth at the London Marathon this year. Goucher's coach has long believed that she's a natural for the marathon. He should know - Alberto Salazar won three straight NYC Marathons from 1980-1982. It was an emotional day for Goucher, running in the city where she was born and where her father was killed by a drunk driver just before she turned four.
"I was so excited to run here and sad that it's over," she said. "It was awesome." Gomes keeps finding magic in New York, where he's captured his only two major marathon titles. He was a surprise winner in 2006 before finishing eighth last year. Goumri pulled away from Gomes and appeared headed to his elusive first major marathon title. Instead, he finished in the top three for the fourth time in 19 months.
Gomes fell behind by about 10 seconds, but when he made his move, he flew past Goumri. "You never lose hope," Gomes said. Irina Mikitenko of Germany won the US$500,000 (Dh1.8 million) World Marathon Majors title after Gete Wami and Catherine Ndereba failed to clinch the prize. Wami, the 2007 NYC Marathon runner-up, would have won for the second straight year if she finished in the top two, but she was sixth.
Ndereba needed to place first to have a chance, but she was fifth. A vote by World Marathon Majors race directors broke a tie between Mikitenko and Wami. Martin Lel of Kenya had already clinched the men's title. Lel was unable to defend his NYC Marathon championship because of a foot injury. *AP