The world's greatest female runners assembled in New York City to participate in the 29th running of the New York Mini-Marathon. On a beautiful day for the spectators, the heat, which started at 80 degrees, but moved to 85 by the end of the race was a factor. However, none could deny that Tegla Loroupe once again proved that she is in a class by herself as she successfully defended her 1999 title by winning the 2000 running of the New York Mini-Marathon in a time of 31:37. Her time was the fastest of her five victories on the course.
After leading the race out in a first mile of 4:58, Loroupe never looked back, moving through the 5K mark in a time of 15:29, twenty seconds ahead of the chase pack of Catherine Ndereba, Restituta Joseph, and Adriana Fernandez. By the finish, Tegla had lengthened her lead to 45 seconds over teammate Catherine Ndereba.
Loroupe, who holds the world record in the marathon and has already been chosen to represent Kenya in the Sydney Olympic Women's Marathon, has said that she also hopes to participate in the Olympic 10K. In pre-race interviews, she had said that she hoped to use this race to gauge her strength and ability for the 10K.
This year's Boston Marathon winner, Catherine Ndereba, was shunned by Kenya's Olympic selection committee and not chosen to be part of the Olympic Marathon Team. While Loroupe was using today's race to gauge her ability in the 10K event, Ndereba was hoping that a strong finish would help her chances of being selected for the Olympic Team. Ndereba ran a strategic race, letting Restituta Joseph and Adriana Fernandez lead her through the first half of the course, and then pulling away to run the final mile alone, as first Fernandez, and then Joseph, gave her ground.
In third place, Fatuma Roba (winner of the 1996 Olympic Marathon and winner of the Boston Marathon from 1997-1999) ran a conservative first half, and then moved on the leaders, finishing within three seconds of Ndereba for third place. One must question whether Roba's loss to Ndereba in Boston affected her choice of race strategy. In Boston, Roba was the frontrunner, and led Ndereba through the wind until Roba slipped back in the last mile, and was passed at the finish line to finish third. In this race, in contrast, Roba sat back in the first half of the race and remained strong through the finish, although she was still unable to catch Ndereba. Roba's time of 32:35 was a personal best at the 10K distance.
Restituta Joseph from Tanzania, a 10K specialist, held on for fourth place, while 1999 New York Marathon winner Adriana Fernandez finished fifth.
Rounding out the top ten finishers were Derarartu Tulu (1992 Olympic 10K Gold Medalist and winner of this year's Bolder Boulder 10K), Hellen Kimaiyo (Kenya), Pamela Chepchumba (Kenya), the first American: Anne Marie Lauck (winner of the 1994 Mini-Marathon and a US Olympic 10K hopeful), and Milkah Chepkieny of Kenya.
The top women waiting for the start of the race. From left to right: Catherine Ndereba, Anne Marie Lauck, Yuko Arimori, Hellen Kimaiyo, Adriana Fernandez, Helen Chepnego, Pamela Chepchumba, ??, Tegla Loroupe
Tegla Loroupe running alone at the 8K mark
The chase group approaching the finish line (places 2-4): Catherine Ndereba, Fatuma Roba, Restituta Joseph
Runners of the NYC Marathon will recognize this as the same hill leading to the finish of that race.
Although she lost 20 seconds on the field in the second 5K of the race, fifth place finisher Adriana Fernandez (winner of the 1999 NYC Marathon) had quite a few adoring fans.