|The 2002 Boston Marathon - Overview
by John Elliott
It was a beautiful day in Massachusetts for the 106th running of the Boston Marathon: temperatures in the mid 50s, little wind, and overcast skies. The roads were still wet (but fortunately not slippery) from the cooling rain of the night before, as nearly fifteen thousand runners left Hopkinton, Massachusetts on a 26.2 mile journey to Boston. At the end, the story, as it has been in the past was about the continued dominance of the Kenyan runners in both the men's and women's races.
In the men's race, Rodgers Rop, the world record holder over 25K - in only his second marathon - was victorious in a time of 2:09:02, a new personal best and a fitting followup to his third place finish last year in New York. Christopher Cheboiboch, knocking more than 1:45 off his previous best, followed countryman Rop through mile 25 and made a valiant final sprint to end only three seconds behind the leader in 2:09:05. The race for third ended in an all out 200 yard sprint where Fred Kiprop 2:090:45 edged out Mbarak Hussein 2:09:45 (brother of 3-time Boston champion Ibrahim Hussein). Lee Bong-Ju, last year's champion (who incidentally will be married next weekend) took fifth place in 2:10:30.
Also see: Men's Race - Blow by Blow
On the women's side, all attention was on Catherine Ndereba who won the Boston Marathon in its last two runnings and set the world record last year. But, in the end it was Margaret Okayo who joined the lead group at mile 16, then broke away from the group with Ndereba and finally ran away alone at mile 25. Okayo finished first in 2:20:43 well ahead of Ndereba's second place finish of of 2:21:12. These two finishes represent the best two women's finishes in Boston, eclipsing Uta Pippig's 1994 run of 2:21:45.
In the wheelchair races, Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa won for the second time in a row in a time of 1:23:19, nearly three minutes ahead of fellow South African, Krige Schabort and well ahead of five-time champion Franz Nietlispach (1995,1997-2000) who finished in 1:30:08. Edith Hunkeler, last year's second place finisher, won the women's division of the wheelchair competition in a time of 1:45:57. She was followed by Christina Ripp (American) in 1:49:32 and Wakako Tsuchida (Japan) in 1:50:09. This represents the new breed in women's wheelers as previous winners Louise Sauvage and Jean Driscoll have retired from the sport.
Also see: Women's Race and Commentary