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Posted: November 1, 2009  :

(RRW) Athletics: Keflezighi, Tulu Win In New York - 6 American Men in top Ten

From David Monti
© 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

By Parker Morse

NEW YORK -- Mebrahtom Keflezighi (USA) and Derartu Tulu (ETH) were champions this morning in the 40th running of the ING New York City Marathon. Keflezighi, winning his first-ever marathon, ended a 27-year American drought with his PB time of 2:09:15. Tulu's victory, run in 2:28:52, was her first since London in 2001. Instead Keflezighi waited until the pack had thinned to four at 30km, and then, after heavily favored 2:04 marathoner James Kwambai fell back, to two.

"My wife told me I wasn't to take the lead under any circumstances," said Keflezighi. "She said, they make you do all the work when you lead." Instead, Keflezighi let four-time Boston Marathon champion Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot do the leading down Fifth Avenue as the race returned to Manhattan.

Finally, as the two entered Central Park at 90th street, Keflezighi sensed Cheruiyot's pace slacking and moved to the front. "I gave a push, and he let me go," said Keflezighi. "I just kept expanding the lead."

In marked contrast to his collapse at the finish of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Men's Marathon, held in Central Park the day before the 2007 ING NYCM, when Keflezighi crossed the line today he did a push-up before greeting his family. Afterward he recalled that day, when he learned about the death of his training partner, Ryan Shay. "The memory of Ryan Shay was what I cried for. It was one [win] for him and one for me."

Cheruiyot was second in 2:09:56, with two-time World Champion Jaouad Gharib third in 2:10:25.

Keflezighi also won the U.S. championships, which were held concurrently with the New York City Marathon. The runner-up in that race-within-the-race was Ryan Hall, who finished fourth overall in 2:10:36. With Jorge Torres, Nick Arciniaga, Abdi Abdirahman, and Jason Lehmkuhle finishing seventh through tenth, the USA placed six runners in the top ten.

Derartu Tulu broke away from Ludmila Petrova on Central Park South to win her first New York City Marathon in 2:28:52. Petrova was the one who finally threw in the move which narrowed the race to two, when she took charge on Fifth Avenue; Petrova's move dropped three-time champion Paula Radcliffe and, eventually, Frenchwoman Christelle Daunay.

"In general, the pace was rather slow," said Tulu. The lead women admitted they had been following Radcliffe for the pace, and Radcliffe in turn was suffering with a sore tendon, for which she had received a cortisone injection before the race. "In those conditions," said Tulu, "I know that I have better speed than those others who are in the field. I knew that I had a good chance."

"I did not come here necessarily expecting to win, but I did expect that I would be a strong competitor, and I'm very happy to have won."

"What gave me part of the motivation was running the [ING Philadelphia Distance Run], where I ran 1:10 for 21k. That told me that I am OK."

Tulu's career stretches back to 1992, when she became the first African woman to win an Olympic gold medal by taking the 10,000m final in Barcelona. Her most recent comeback follows the birth of her second daughter, Ruth, in 2006. In addition to her daughters, Tulu raised four other children.

Radcliffe professed to be "pretty annoyed" by her fourth-place finish, in 2:29:27. It was the first non-Olympic marathon Radcliffe has not won. "The problem I alluded to in the press conferences but couldn't really talk about too much came back at eleven miles. I really thought it was going to be fine. The first ten miles felt great, but I hadn't been able to run too much on it in the last two weeks."

Olympic marathoner Magdalena Lewy Boulet was the first American finisher in the women's race, running 2:32:17 for sixth place.

Derartu Tulu, of Ethiopia, won the women’s New York Marathon in 2:28:52 on November 1, 2009. Paula Ratcliffe finished 4th. (Photo: Steve Bower/

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