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Timothy Cherigat keeps cool while the heat is on in Boston

Second triumph for coach Dieter Hogen, Catherine Ndereba wins third Boston title

2004-04-21

Timothy Cherigat is the winner of the 108th Boston Marathon. While temperatures soared up to nearly 30° Celsius the 27 year-old Kenyan kept cool and triumphed in convincing style in 2:10:37. It was Cherigat’s greatest success so far while it was a second triumph for the group of Kenyans coached by Dieter Hogen, Tom Ratcliffe and Godfrey Kiprotich within 32 hours. A day before Evans Rutto had won the London Marathon in an identical convincing style.

Catherine Ndereba was the fastest women in Boston. The marathon world champion from Kenya clocked 2:24:27. Elfenesh Alemu (Ethiopia) finished second in 2:24:43. It was the third Boston win for Catherine Ndereba after 2000 and 2001. Regarding the conditions the Kenyan clocked an excellent time and it was a perfect test for the Olympic Marathon in Athens in late August. Ndereba and Cherigat each earned $ 80,000 for their wins.

20,344 runners had entered this year’s 108th Boston Marathon. 17,950 started in Hopkinton while 16,743 reached the finish line in central Boston. Clearly finishing times were relatively slow due to the heat.

Because of the weather the pace was conservative in the first part of the race. As the traditional starting time in Boston is 12 noon temperatures were already above 25 ° Celsius at the start. Eight runners passed half way in 65:30 minutes. Among them were seven Kenyans and Hailu Negussie. The Ethiopian finally finished fifth in 2:17:30.

Defending champion Robert Cheruiyot was among the leaders at this stage of the race. But that was soon to change. On the next 10 k stretch four runners lost contact. Among them was Cheruiyot who dropped out later. Four Kenyans reached 30 k in 1:32:52: Timothy Cherigat, Rodgers Rop, Martin Lel and Robert Cheboror.

Finally it was down to a duel between Rop and Cherigat – it ended with a knockout for one and a triumph for the other. When Timothy Cherigat pushed the pace it became soon obvious that only this man could be the winner. While Cherigat changed pace in the hills Rop could not stand the speed any longer. The Kenyan who had won the Boston and New York Marathon races in 2002 later ran into such big problems that he even dropped out. Meanwhile Cherigat continued in convincing style while Robert Cheboror came in second in 2:11.49. Martin Lel was third in 2:13:38. Fourth place went to Stephen Kiogora (2:14:34) who is another of Dieter Hogen’s runners.

“During my first two marathons I had problems because I was ill. That is why I prepared very well for this one because I wanted to make sure that I would be strong. I had no problems during the race”, Timothy Cherigat said. “May be I could have run faster. But this is difficult to tell because of the weather conditions.”

Catherine Ndereba experienced a much tougher race. Crossing the finish the was so exhausted that she could not walk any longer and sank to the surface. It had been a fierce fight until the very last mile of the race before she finally got ahead of Elfenesh Alemu. The Ethiopian ran a great race in the heat finishing second with just 16 seconds behind. “It was a really hard race that hurt me in the final stages”, Ndereba said. Regarding the conditions she ran a great time of 2:24:27.

For the first time in Boston history women finished before the men. They had started 29 minutes earlier to run their own race. It was Elfenesh Alemu who increased the pace in the early stages of the race. The wife of the Olympic Marathon Champion Gezahegne Abera (Ethopia), who had dropped out of the London Marathon with an injury the day before, passed 10 k in 35:15. She continued running in the lead and had an advantage of seven seconds at half way (1:12:21). Catherine Ndereba was second at this stage, but managed to catch up with Alemu on the next few miles.

“I ran my own race today”, Ndereba later explained. Still she was not able to get rid of Alemu until the final stages of the marathon. The Ethiopian was working hard at front as well but Ndereba hold on. Even at the 40 k mark (2:16:57) they were running together. It was then on the very last mile of the race that Ndereba was able to push the pace again although suffering of cramps. Finally Alemu could not respond and was beaten. “The will to win was decisive today”, Catherine Ndereba said. It was a great test for Athens.

Results, Men:

1. Timothy Cherigat KEN 2:10:37 2. Robert Cheboror KEN 2:11:49 3. Martin Lel KEN 2:13:38 4. Stephen Kiogora KEN 2:14:34 5. Hailu Negussie ETH 2:17:30 6. Benjamin Kimutai KEN 2:17:45 7. Joshua Kipkemboi KEN 2:18:23 8. Andrew Letherby AUS 2:19:31

Women:

1. Catherine Ndereba KEN 2:24:27 2. Elfenesh Alemu ETH 2:24:43 3. Olivera Jevtic SCG 2:27:34 4. Jelena Prokopcuka LAT 2:30:16 5. Nuta Olaru ROM 2:30:44 6. Lyubov Denisowa RUS 2:31:17 7. Malgorzata Sobanska POL 2:32:23 8. Victoria Klimina RUS 2:33:20


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