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KENYANS SWEEP ROAD FROM MARATHON TO ATHENS
Athens, Sunday, November 7, 11.00gmt
Frederick Cherono always looked the likely winner of an annual Athens
Classic Marathon that proved far more temperate than the Olympic races.
Cherono, 28 in two weeks' time, eased in behind pacemaker, Josephat Chemjor
right from the start in Marathon, and although he had another Kenyan
colleague, Barnabas Ruto for company for around 90 minutes, Cherono looked
so easy, and proved it as he ran away from Ruto at the 35 kilometre mark,
and swept into the Panathenaiko Stadium in Athens, to win by a minute and a
half, in 2hr 15min 28sec.
Ruto was second in 2.17.09, and debutant, Christopher Kosgei third in
2.17.19. Kenyans took all the top places, with first 'foreigner', Oleg
Kharitonov of Russia, 12th in 2.23.32.
Cherono’s victory was compensation for missing today’s New York Marathon,
due to US visa problems, and he announced a long term aim of running London
in April next year.
But he will also always treasure the silver replica of the cup that was
awarded to Spyros Louis for winning the 'original' Olympic race in Athens
With temperatures ranging from 10-18C(50-65F), compared to well over 30C
for the Olympic races, Cherono looked as if he could have gone much faster.
But his claim that he could have broken the course record (Stefano
Baldini's 2.10.55 for Olympic gold) was perhaps optimistic.
But he did concede that getting close to his 2.08.38 best, set in winning
Torino earlier this year was out of the question. "No, this is too hilly,
and I train on the flat in Kenya. I was confident from the start, but
there is no way I could do 2.08 on this course. I will train for London
next year. I think I can break my best there."
The women’s race was much closer, with Svetlana Ponomarenko of Russia
leading a trio of Ethiopians for the majority of the race. But she was
powerless to respond when Zinach Alemu forged ahead in the last two
kilometres. Alemu won in 2.41.11, from colleague, Areba Hiruet, 2.41.18,
with Ponomarenko third in 2.41.42.