New York City Marathon 2002 - American Race
Top Americans Runyan and Keflezighi finished in 5th place in 2:27:10 and 9th place in 2:12:35, respectively.
The American Men
The American men were never in contention for placing in the main race, but the race for US Marathon Champion was intense as 27 American men finished in the top 50 men overall. Scott Larson led the Americans from the beginning as he tried ran most of the race alone - finding no one to run with. According to his post-race interview, Larson wanted to go out at 1:05:30 for the first half-marathon, but found no one to run with. He expected the lead group to go out at 1:04:30 and the American group to go out at 1:06:30 - neither was what he wanted. Speaking with his coach, Larson decided to start at the back of the World Elite group, but from the beginning it was evident that this group was moving too fast for him (this group went through the half-marathon at 1:03:52). So Larson dropped back and ran alone - in no-man's land from mile 6. Larson went through the half-marathon in 1:04:54 nearly two minutes ahead of the rest of the American's. Hurting from going out too fast and running alone, Larson was never passed in the second half of the course, but ran a much slower 1:09:32 for the last 13.1 miles. He would say that given how bad he was feeling he was just waiting for another runner to catch him - but none did. Larson won the American title and finished 13th overall.
Clinton Verran was the next runner across the finish line and next American, finishing the course in 2:17:20, a personal best by almost 2-1/2 minutes. This was his first marathon since last year's Olympic trials. Third American and 16th overall was Chris Lundstrom from Minnesota, finishing in 2:18:08 - a personal best by nearly five minutes!
The American Women
In her first marathon, US 10K champion Deena Drossin proved she could go the distance, but also learned how hard the marathon can be. Drossin stayed with the lead pack and the top women through mile 22, at which point she began to cramp and dropped back somewhat. Nonetheless, she held on to finish in seventh place overall (2:26:57) and to win the American title by a significant margin. For her fantastic performance, Drossin took home $61,000 in prize money. Drossin ran the best American Women's Marathon time since 1991, the fastest American woman's NYC Marathon time ever, and becomes the fourth fastest American woman's marathoner of all time.
Milena Glusac, also in her debut marathon ran a strong race and earned second place in the USA Marathon Championships to finish in a time of 2:34:46. She was not running with the lead group at any time, but instead made strong moves to gain places over miles 15 to 20 at which point she began cramping but still managed to pass De Reuck in the last few miles.
Colleen De Reuck, who has lived in Boulder for many years, but only recently became a naturalized citizen was the most famous of the female American marathoners, but she was overcome by the younger first-timers. De Reuck, who ran with the leaders for the first half of the race was just trying to hang in there for as long as she could on a tough day. De Reuck finished in 2:35:27, well off of her 2:26:35 personal best).
New York Runners
Although not a well-known category, the New York City Marathon has a special category for New York City Runners... In this category,
Brian Clas ran with the Elite American Group through the 59th St. bridge when he began cramping up severely. Following this, he struggled to make it to the finish line, but completed the course as the first New York City finisher in 2:22:30.
Gordon Bakoulis, also a well-known New York running figure and NYC Marathon veteran, came out as the top New Yorker and the first Master's runner, completing the course in 2:41:39. In post-race interviews Bakoulis spoke about her nostalgia for the old course.