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Posted: August 16, 2009  :

(RRW) Athletics: Tola And Radcliffe Win NYC Half-Marathon

From David Monti

© 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

NEW YORK (16-Aug) -- Tadese Tola and Paula Radcliffe won the fourth edition of the NYC Half-Marathon here today in warm and very humid conditions.

Tola, an Ethiopian, defended his 2008 title by running away from the field early. He already had a 13 second lead over his nearest chaser in the early part of the race, South Africa's Hendrick Ramaala, and by the 10 km mark (28:41) he was already 40 seconds ahead. He powered to the finish line just north of Battery Park in lower Manhattan alone in 1:01:06, more than a minute up on the field.

Morocco's Ridouane Harroufi won a two-up sprint with American Ryan Hall to take second. Harroufi clocked 1:02:33 to Hall's 1:02:35. American Abdi Abdirahman (1:02:51) and Ramaala (1:04:02) placed fourth and fifth, respectively.

Radcliffe, the world marathon record holder, started the race at a strong pace and only Ethiopia's Mamitu Daska could stay with her in the first half. The Briton led Daska through 10 km in 32:47, 52 seconds ahead of Kenya's Catherine Ndereba and Bahrain's Nadia Ejjafini who were running together in third and fourth place. Radcliffe was able to shake off Daska late in the race, and won by a whopping 1 minute and 19 seconds over Daska. Radcliffe's time of 1:09:45 was just two seconds off of Ndereba's 2006 course record.

Ndereba, twice the NYC Half-Marathon champion, broke away from Ejjafini to take third in 1:11:56. Ejjafini took fourth in 1:12:47, and Ethiopia's Buzunesh Deba, who lives here in New York City, finished fifth in 1:13:17.

Both Tola and Radcliffe earned $10,000 in prize money, part of a $70,000 prize money purse.

New Yorker Ilsa Paulson, originally from Sherwood, Ore., was the top American woman in the race. She finished a surprising sixth, despite falling and striking her head just after the race started when she was tripped from behind. The top American entrant on the women's side, Deena Kastor, had an off day, finishing seventh in 1:13:48. Kastor is preparing for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October.

The warm and humid conditions (73F at the start with 76% humidity and no clouds) slowed the athletes and left them completely soaked with perspiration. The men's course record of 59:24 by Haile Gebrselassie set in 2007 was never threatened.

The race, which began with a 10 km loop of Central Park before heading through the city streets, had 10,171 finishers.

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