New York City Marathon 2001 - Women's Race
The Women's Race, Mile by Mile:
Silvia Skvortsova, in her job as pacesetter led the women through the half-marathon in a comfortable time of 1:13:11. Breaking the wind for the other female runners, the women ran in single file for much of the first half of Sunday's marathon. At the halfway mark, the lead group consisted of 14 women - Silvia Skvortsova, Margaret Okayo, Susan Chepkemei, Svetlana Zakharova, Joyce Chepchumba, Esther Kiplagat, Ludmila Petrova, Deena Drossin, Elena Paramonova, Madina Biktagirova, Elana Meyer, Florence Barsosio, Franca Fiacconi and Colleen DeReuck - the pacesetter and all of the contenders. At the half, the race had not really begun.
By mile 14, the race had already begun, with 8 women - Okayo, Petrova, Biktagirova, Kiplagat, Meyer, Drossin, Chepchumba and Chepkemei moving away from the rest. American's, in particular are happy to see Deena Drossin, in her debut marathon, sticking with the leaders.
This group of 8 remains together through mile 15, but by sixteen, four runners, led by Margaret Okayo move away and put twenty seconds between themselves and the following runners. The group includes Okayo, Petrova, Chepkemei and Biktagirova. Chepchumba follows.
Coming across and over the 59th Street Bridge, Margaret Okayo moves away from the other women, leading by 29 seconds at mile 17 and extending that lead to 35 seconds by mile 18. Following Okayo are three women: Chepchumba, Petrova and Chepkemei, but of this group Petrova, last year's champion, looks like she is tiring.
In each of the following miles, Okayo adds a few additional seconds to her lead - the race for first place is over. The race for second place continues, however, as Chepchumba, Petrova and Chepkemei run together followed twenty seconds later by Zakharova, Kiplagat and Drossin. By mile 22 all of the other women have fallen away.
Over the next two miles, Okayo increases her lead. Zakharova, meanwhile, is looking strong and has moved up to catch the second group which now consists of Zakharova, Chepkemei and Chepchumba - Petrova is falling back. At 24 miles, Okayo is 1 minute 11 seconds ahead of the others - too big a margin for anyone to catch.
Towards mile 25 and 26, Zakharova and Chepkemei move away from Joyce Chepchumba who will finish fourth.
With Okayo approaching the finish, which she will complete in a record time of 2:24:21, Zakharova and Chepkemei are re-entering Central Park on their way to the finish line. Zakharova is leading with 300 yards to go and is pulling away. But, within the final 200 yards, Chepkemei passes Zakharova and the two sprint towards the finish with Chepkemei easily holding on to keep second place by one second.
In the post-race interview, Chepkemei said that she saw that Zakharova was not continuing to pick up and pull away at the finish and that let her believe that she could sprint to catch Zakharova at the finish.
Also following the race, Okayo, who came in third last year, was asked whether she liked this year's new course [a hill was removed coming into Central Park], she replied that she did. And, when asked if she thought she could have broken the course record on the old course - she replied, "no". We won't really know whether the new course took many seconds off of the time required to complete the course, but we will know that Margaret Okayo ran a fantastic and memorable race on November 4, 2001.