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BM 02: Olympic champion Naoko Takahashi of Japan racked up another major marathon win this morning

Raymond Kipkoech posted the equal tenth fastest in history, 2.06.47

2002-09-29

Olympic champion Naoko Takahashi of Japan racked up another major marathon win this morning (Sunday), taking the real-Berlin Marathon in 2hr 21min 49sec. The irrepressible Kenyans filled the top five places in the mens race, headed by the little known Raymond Kipkoech who posted the equal tenth fastest in history, 2.06.47. Although two minutes slower than her world record time here last year, Takahashi nevertheless ran the 13th fastest ever and rebuffed the challenge of Adriana Fernandez, who led the Japanese until 25 kilometres. But Fernandez had no response when Takahashi surged ahead five minutes later, and the Mexican finished second in 2.24.11. Helen Kimutai of Kenya was third in a personal best 2.26.10. Takahashis run confirmed what she had said pre-race about being only 80% ready. "I had a calf problem at the beginning of September and couldn train as hard as I wanted, so I didn even consider the world record, I just wanted to win," said Takahashi for whom this was her third fastest marathon, three seconds outside her Asian Games victory in Bangkok in 1998. After a whole year without a race of any kind, Takahashi now runs in the Tokyo Womens Marathon on November 17. "Its an important race for me," she said, "because its one of the selection races for Paris, and I want to run the World Championships next year". Kipkoech only got into todays race a week ago, but he wasted no time in making his mark on the world rankings, outsprinting sometime training partner, Simon Biwott, the world silver medallist, and another Kenyan colleague, Vincent Kipsos, both of whom also beat 2.07. Kipkoech, from the village of Kapsait, situated at 3000 metres altitude near the Ugandan border only began running two years ago, "when I saw my friends Simon Biwott, Eric Kimaiyo, Sammy Korir and Fred Kiprop being successful". Kipkoech, 23 finished fifth in his first race, the Torino Marathon in 2000, won in Enschede (Netherlands) in April, and now joins Kiprop as tenth fastest of all time.


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