2002 BOSTON MARATHON
Defending champions among Marathon elite
By Michael Vega, Globe Staff, 4/03/02
he defending men's and women's champions, Lee Bong Ju of Korea and Catherine Ndereba of Kenya, headline a field of 32 elite international athletes assembled for the 106th Boston Marathon April 15.
Lee, only the third Korean to don Boston's laurel wreath, snapped a 10-year reign of dominance by the Kenyans last year, covering the 26-mile, 385-yard distance in 2 hours 9 minutes 43 seconds.
The previous Korean to win Boston was Kee Yong Ham in 1950. Kee's win came three years after Yun Bok Suh's seminal triumph, which established a world record (2:25:39).
''Fifty years is a long time,'' Lee said last year. ''And a long time makes this honor much bigger.''
Lee, who dedicated his victory to his late father, Lee Hae Ku, outdistanced runner-up Silvio Guerra of Ecuador (2:10:07) and Joshua Chelanga of Kenya, who made quite a splash in his Boston debut by finishing third (2:10:29).
Lee, Guerra, and Chelanga, in addition to Kenyans David Kiptum Busienei (fourth, 2:11:47) and Mbarek Hussein (fifth, 2:12:01) will be back to lead a strong field of male elite runners.
Josh Cox of El Cajon, Calif., the second-fastest American male last year (14th, 2:16:17) behind Rod DeHaven of Madison, Wis., (sixth, 2:12:41), will be back as well. Cox will be joined by Mark Coogan of Attleboro, who finished 19th overall and third among American runners (2:18:58).
Ndereba, who captured her second consecutive Boston title (2:23:53), had a strong 2001 season, becoming only the second woman to run a sub-2:20 marathon (2:18.47 at the Chicago Marathon Oct. 7).