New York City Marathon 2002 - Women's Race
This year's race looked like it should have been a slam-dunk for Margaret Okayo. In 2001, Okayo set a new course record in New York, by winning that race in 2:24:21 - more than 50 seconds ahead of the second place woman. Earlier this year Okayo dropped her PR to 2:20:43 enroute to a win in Boston. None of the other woman in the field can run this fast. Ludmilla Petrova appears to have the best chance of unseating Okayo, having run a 2:22:33 PR in London earlier this year and having the experience of winning the NYC Marathon in 1999. Of the rest of the field, Lornah Kiplagat and Joyce Chepchumba (fifth last year) should be in contention to win, but more likely to be in the top five. A number of women are running their debut marathon, but none that should be able to catch Okayo who should be poised for a new course record.
For the first time in its 33 year history, the elite women ran alone in the New York City Marathon. At 10:35AM ET, 25 women (including 7 Americans) began their 26.2 mile journey through the five boroughs of New York.
The Women's Race, Mile by Mile:
Led by Silvia Skvortsova, the pacesetter, the lead women in a pack of 12 women runs through the half-marathon in a time of 1:14:54, more than one and one-half minutes slower than last year's time of 1:13:11. Cool temperatures, little wind... this should be a fast race, but it's not living up to this billing. Perhaps the women's-only race is causing the women to run a more strategic race as they watch each other and are waiting to move. Or, perhaps it's the fact that Margaret Okayo is not pushing the pace, and has actually been running behind the pack since mile 8.
Through mile 15 in 1:24:42, the women continue to follow Skvortsova and the pack still contains remains large with about 14 of the original women. Okayo is running about 100 meters back and appears to be out of the race struggling with a leg cramp.
Skvortsova leaves the race on the Queensboro Bridge - her job as pacesetter is over and the pack is on its own. Seven women begin to move away from the others, led by American Milean Glusac. Accompanying Glusac are Petrova, Lornah Kiplagat, Kerryn McCann, Esther Kiplagat, Olivera Jevtic and Joyce Chepchumba. Fifteen seconds behind them are Sonia O'Sullivan, Marla Runyan and Zinaida Semyonova. They will rejoin the pack by the next mile.
At 18 miles (1:41:12), the pack is down to 6 runners: leader Joyce Chepchumba, Esther Kiplagat, Olivera Jevtic, Lorna Kiplagat, Kerryn McCann and Ludmila Petrova. Marla Runyan has rejoins the lead pack and Okayo is moving back as well.
At 19 miles in 1:46:44, Okayo is hanging just behind the pack, but does not look good. With 9 runners in the pack, it's anybody's race.
Turning a corner in the Bronx approaching mile 21, Keryn McCann steps on Olivera Jevtic's heel and the two tumble. McCaan is hurting and falls off the pace while Jevtic, with bloody ankles sticks with the pack. The pack is still together at 21 miles, but there is a feeling that something will happen soon.
On the way to mile 22, the women's pack begins to break up. Joyce Chepchumba has made a surge and only Denisova and Jevtic are able to stick with her. Esther Kiplagat trails, followed by Lornah Kiplagat, Marla Runyan and Petrova - all strung out.
By mile 23, this has become a two-person race between Chepchmba who looks strong and Denisova who is following just behind. Jevtic is cruising along in third position in her debut marathon and looks happy to be there.
Over the next few miles, the lead order does not change, and Chepchumba easily wins in 2:25:56, followed by Denisova 21 seconds back in 2:26:17. The top ten consists of Olivera Jevtic completes the race in third place in 2:26:44 followed by Esther Kiplagat (2:27:00), Marla Runyan (2:27:10), Margaret Okayo (2:27:46), Kerryn McCann (2:27:51), Lornah Kiplagat (2:28:41), Ludmila Petrova (2:29:00) and Milena Glusac (2:31:14).
The surprise of the day was that the favorites, Okayo, L. Kiplagat and Petrova were so handily beaten by Chepchumba, Denisova and debutantes Jevtic and Runyan - proving that you can never know what will happen over a 26.2 mile course.
Blow by blow coverage of the NYC Marathon 2002 races:
NYC Marathon 2002: Men's Race
NYC Marathon 2002: Women's Race
NYC Marathon 2002: American Race
NYC Marathon 2002: The Wheelchair Race
NYC Marathon 2002: Photo Gallery
Also, Complete Results of the NYC Marathon