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Disappointment can't defeat runner-up Kim

Men's Winner:Time:
C. Ndeti, Kenya 2:09:33
Women's Results:Time:
O. Markova, Russia 2:25:27
Men's Wheelchair Time:
J. Knaub, United States 1:22:17
Women's Wheelchair Time:
J. Driscoll, United States 1:34:50

By Joe Burris, Globe Staff, 4/20/93

Cosmas N'Deti took little time passing Kim Jae-Yong when the two reached the 23-mile mark of yesterday's Boston Marathon. Disappointment crept up on Kim shortly thereafter and hung around the Korean a long time.

Kim, the winner of the 1992 Seoul Marathon, said afterward he couldn't believe it when he saw N'Deti go by. Just prior to that, Kim was about 20 yards away from front-runner Lucketz Swartbooi of Namibia and considering making a challenge for first place. After N'Deti passed him, Kim turned around and saw no one close behind. Figuring he probably could not catch the two runners before him, he aimed at saving face -- vowing to himself that no one else would creep up and go by him, as if he were in the right lane on the expressway.

That put some kick back in his legs, and at the 25.3-mile mark, Kim went past Swartbooi. On the final turn onto Boylston Street, he had a slim chance to catch N'Deti, who was frequently looking back. With his head tilting to one side, Kim closed in and seemed to be just over N'Deti's shoulder. But then he began to fade as N'Deti accelerated down the stretch, pumping his right fist.

Still, a desire to save face gave Kim a finishing boost, and he was runner- up to N'Deti by 10 seconds in 2 hours 9 minutes 43 seconds. It was just 13 seconds slower than Kim's personal best in Seoul.

The little-known Swartbooi, who took the lead just after the halfway point and held it until N'Deti passed him at the 24.3-mile mark, finished third in 2:09:57. Japan's Hiromi Taniguchi, who began 1992 ranked No. 1 in the world by Track and Field News, finished fourth in 2:11:02.

Kim, the first elite Korean runner to race at Boston since Kee Yong Ham won in 1950, won his first Seoul Marathon in 1991 and earned a silver medal in the 1990 Asian Games 10,000 meters.

He went into the race trying primarily to eclipse his personal record. He wasn't among the leaders after the 5-mile mark but moved into sixth place at the 10-mile mark. He moved up to fourth by the halfway point and to second by the 18.6-mile mark.

But after N'Deti passed him, Kim said, "My legs started cramping up. I was just waiting for the cramps to go away so I could go out and try to run for first place. Because I was so far away, I knew it would be difficult."

Kim turned around "at the 40-kilometer mark, and I didn't see anyone behind me," he said. "When N'Deti passed me, I was disappointed. I said then I would not be passed by another runner. That helped me."

Like many other runners, Kim said the warm weather was a problem, though Swartbooi said it didn't bother him much. "The weather was very good for me," said Swartbooi. "It's very hot in my country."

Swartbooi had much more difficu him over the last 2 miles. At the 22-mile mark, Swartbooi was about 20 yards ahead of Kim. At the 24.3 mark, N'Deti came up on Swartbooi's left side. With the two running stride for stride for a few meters, N'Deti took a few glances at Swartbooi, who kept staring straight ahead. N'Deti took one more look before pulling away.

"When you are running against someone, you can tell if he is tired," said N'Deti. "I was trying to look at his face to understand whether he can beat me or if I could beat him."

The latter notion turned out correct.

Asked if he thought he had a good opportunity to win, Swartbooi said, "I just wanted to be in a good position. I was not expecting to win the race.

"Of course, because this is my first time running the Boston Marathon, it was good for me."

Markova solid in her defense

By Barbara Huebner, Globe Staff, 4/20/93

If Olga Markova had a point to prove, she went a long way toward proving it yesterday.

The Russian marathoner's time of 2 hours 25 minutes 27 seconds was good for her second straight Boston Marathon victory, the first back-to-back women's victor since Rosa Mota of Portugal in 1987-88.

It was good for the fastest time in the world so far this year.

It was good for $65,000.

And it had to be good for an "I told you so" to the federation that chose the members of the Unified Team for the 1992 Olympic marathon, which left her off the squad because she chose not to compete in the Los Angeles Marathon qualifier.

Markova crossed the finish line 4 1/2 minutes ahead of runner-up Kim Jones of Spokane, Wash., making a strong comeback from a string of injuries and setbacks. Third was Brazilian Carmen De Oliviera, who appeared pleased with a Boston debut time of 2:31:18 that she said was a personal best by 10 minutes.

The Markova-less Olympic squad in Barcelona ended up with a surprise gold medalist in 29-year-old Valentina Yegorova. But that only sharpened Markova's disappointment. She has made it plain -- mostly through her manager/ interpreter Gregory Viniar, but occasionally in her hesitant but clear English -- that she was shattered and angry at not being given the chance to chase her own Olympic dream. The evidence to support her unhappiness was not weak: Her PR, in a 2:23:43 Boston win last year, was almost 5 minutes faster than Yegorova's.

Yesterday was their first head-to-head meeting. To the 12th mile, it was exactly that, as they ran together, Markova's smooth strides in contrast to Yegorova's choppier style. Three miles earlier, they had begun to rid themselves of Wanda Panfil, the 1991 Boston winner, who was breathing hard and looking uncomfortable, even distracted, for several miles before falling off the pace. Panfil dropped out, dejected, at the 18-mile mark.

Visions of a classic duel had barely formed, however, when Yegorova, who had been hospitalized in Japan six weeks ago with the flu, began to falter just before Wellesley College. She slipped back quickly. For a mile or so, her blue shorts could be seen, slowly fading in the distance until Markova was the only woman in view.

It was a view the 24-year-old Markova didn't appear able to enjoy until after the Newton Hills. Shortly after turning the corner onto Commonwealth Avenue, she looked around to see if any other woman was in sight. None was. Still, she seemed cautious through the hills, perhaps aware that if the leg ''discomfort" that prompted her to curtail her winter racing was going to show up anywhere, these downhills would be the place.

Once she was down the backside of Heartbreak Hill, though, she began to look more relaxed. And relieved.

Perhaps it was only coincidence that Yegorova eventually dropped out at about the same spot.

"I am happy every time that I finish a marathon," said Markova through her interpreter. "I have no special feelings about this one. Valentina Yegorova was not prepared well enough to compete with me today."

And Yegorova?

"I am very pleased with Olga Markova's result because, as myself, she trained hard for this race," she said through her interpreter. "It is a good result and I am happy for her."

The flu had caught up with her, though: "I was not trained enough."

Even this win was not without at least a hint of controversy for Markova. At the postrace news conference, several questions were raised about whether she had been paced by male runners for a long stretch in midrace.

Markova and her interpreter laughed off the queries. "I felt it was something to overcome because I would like them to be on their way," she said through Viniar.

Meanwhile, on her way was Jones, who steadily picked off her wilting competitors.

"It was a very rough day out there," she said of the heat and almost cloudless sky. "We all went out fairly hard. It's just that they went out harder and died more than I did."

If Jones was the least disappointed at not winning, she hid it well. "We all want to win," she said, "but second is better than third, as my daughter would say."

Of the victor, Jones said simply, "I don't think anybody could've beat her today."

It was a good year for Americans. Joan Benoit Samuelson of Freeport, Maine, was sixth; Joy Smith of Houston was ninth; and Jane Welzel, of Fort Collins, Colo., and formerly of Hopkinton itself, was 11th. Last year, the top American woman was Welzel, in 10th.

Lisa Weidenbach of Gig Harbor, Wash., wasn't so lucky. Injuries from a training run Friday, when she was hit by a car, forced her to quit after 9 miles.