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Mixed fortunes

By | November 2nd 2009

by Feverpitch Team and Agencies

There was no winning joy for Kenya at the Big Apple as Eritrean born American, Meb Keflezighi and Ethiopia’s Derartu Tulu soared to victory in the 40th running of New York Marathon on Sunday night.

Robert ‘Mwafrika’ Cheruiyot (Omar Ahmed), a late inclusion to the elite runners line-up for New York staged a brave fight but the four time Boston Marathon champion who looked to be in his best shape since injury forced him out of last year’s Olympics succumbed to Keflezighi in the men’s race to finish second in 2:09:56.

Keflezighi thus became the first American since 1982 to win the men’s race in New York with 2:09:15 while Moroccan Jaouad Gharib closed the podium in 2:10:25.

In the women’s race, Boston champion, Salina Kosgei (2:31:53) was fifth in the women’s race won by Tulu, whose last major victory was the 2001 London Marathon with the timer reading 2:28:52.

Swollen knee

"I almost went out after the fall but we Kenyans never surrender easily, hence my decision to finish," Kosgei told FeverPitch after the race. She was limping after her stumble after 5km and finished the race with a swollen knee.

Tulu pulled away in the final mile, with 41-year-old Russian Ludmila Petrova (2:29:00) the runner-up for the second straight year. Two-time defending champ Paula Radcliffe (2:29:27) was fourth. The world record-holder from Britain fell back from the lead pack in the 22nd mile. She grabbed her left leg in pain after finishing.

The 37-year-old Tulu won Olympic gold medals on the track in the 10,000 meters in 1992 and 2000. She hadn’t won a major marathon since 2001 in London. Christelle Daunay (2:29:16) of France was third.

Meanwhile, Mary Keitany had the world record in her sights at the Delhi Half Marathon before eventually settling for victory in 1:06:54 that obliterated the event’s course best in yet another forceful display of running.

Mary Keitany who set a new course record at the Delhi Half Marathon, on Sunday. Photo: File/Standard

Keitany, who soared to World Half Marathon glory last month (October 11), was again on song yesterday as she proved her victory in Birmingham was no fluke.

Her domination was total. Keitany never allowed anyone to even think about putting up a challenge. Taking off fast, she ran much of her race in the company of Indian male runners and thus kept a steady pace.

She was past 10km mark in a stunning 30:39, raising murmurs about Delhi witnessing a World record. By the 15km mark, at 46:40, she was still very much ahead of World record pace.

But then, after that the pace slackened. The previous course record of 1:08:17 was battered beyond recognition, however.

Keitany, who took the top prize of $25,000 (Sh1.875m), said that she had Kenyan-born Dutch runner, Lornah Kiplagat’s 1:06:25 World record in mind when she started. "The course was excellent and the weather was not bad. I hope to come back next year," she told IAAF.

Kiplagat’s 2007 effort survived, just as it had in Birmingham 20 days earlier when Keitany clocked 1:06:36, the leading time in the world this season and the second fastest ever.

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