15 APR 2002 General News (AFP)

Okayo beats Ndereba, while Rop leads Kenyan men's dominance of Boston Marathon

Okayo beats Ndereba, while Rop leads Kenyan men's dominance of Boston Marathon
17 April – Boston - (AFP) - Rodgers Rop, who didn't run his first marathon until last year, led a Kenyan sweep in the Boston Marathon as he won in a personal best time of 2hr 09min 02sec here on Monday in foggy, cool conditions.

Rop, 26, held off the challenge of Kenyan compatriot Christopher Cheboiboch as Kenyans filled the top four spots, while defending champion Lee Bong-Ju of South Korea placed fifth. Rop and Cheboiboch broke away from a pack of five Kenyans with a little more than three miles remaining and made it a two-man race down the stretch. Rop then shook off the 25-year-old Cheboiboch and opened a 25-yard gap with under two miles to go and never had problems thereafter.

Rop earned a top prize of 80,000 dollars. "I wanted to retain the title to Kenya," he said. "This is something that gives me morale. I was OK all the way through the race." He is the 13th Kenyan to win in Boston in the last 16 races. He is a policeman in Nairobi and made his marathon debut at New York last year, finishing third in 2:09:51, and is the holder of the World record at 25 kilometres in 1:13:44.

Fred Kiprop, also of Kenya, led at one point but settled for third in the men's race. Mbarak Hussein made it a top-four Kenyan sweep. Hussein is the brother of three-time Boston champion Ibrahim Hussein.

This was Rop's third race this year. He finished tenth in the World's Best 10km event in San Juan, Puerto Rico in February, clocking 29:23. Last month, he was second in the Twentig of Hans Verkerk 20km in the Netherlands with a time of 58:49.

In the women's race, Margaret Okayo dethroned fellow Kenyan Catherine Ndereba, the world's fastest women marathoner, to set a new course record in 2:20.43.

The Boston races had a lot to live up to after Sunday's record-breaking London Marathon in which Khalid Khannouchi ran the fastest marathon ever in 2:05:38 and Britain's Paula Radcliffe won the women's race in 2:18:56sec, second only to Ndereba in the all-time list, in her debut at the distance.

 

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