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Posted: April 22, 2007

Athletics (RRW): Lel Gets Second London Title In Thrilling Sprint Finish

From David Monti

© 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

LONDON (22-Apr) -- In a finish reminiscent of the 2003 Flora London Marathon, Kenyan Martin Lel won a four-man sprint on the Mall to take his second title here in 2:07:41. He also won here in 2005.

Making the final righthand bend before the finish line, Lel surged away from defending champion and compatriot, Felix Limo, world champion Jaouad Gharib of Morocco, and another Moroccan, Abderrahim Goumri. Goumri was the next best sprinter, finishing second in 2:07:44 in his debut at the distance. Limo finished third in 2:07:47 and Gharib, who did most of the pushing in the final kilometers, was fourth in 2:07:54.

"I corrected the mistake I made last year," Lel told the BBC, referring to how he lost last year's race in a two-man sprint against Limo.

Ethiopian legend Haile Gebrselassie dropped out just past the 30-K mark. "I cannot move," Gebrselassie told the BBC shortly after leaving the course. "I don't know what's going on."

American Ryan Hall made an excellent debut, smashing the USA debut record of 2:09:41 held jointly by Alberto Salazar and Alan Culpepper. Hall finished seventh in 2:08:24, running at the front of the race until falling back in the final kilometers.

Conditions were warm. The temperature at the finish was 21C (70F) with 38% humidity under sunny skies.

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