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Boston Marathon Course section


Denisova knew her place: 2d

By Michael Vega, Globe Staff, 4/22/2003


Road rave
Zakharova takes women's title
Boston street smarts
Kimutai got over the hump
Runyan fifth after battle
Denisova knew her place: 2d
Hellebuyck leads the way
Ripp, Van Dyk: Spin control
Russian contingent was rushin'
Wellesley voices carry
Heart, sole are put to the test
Hopkinton's just the beginning
Pushing the human body
Up-close view for this father
Girl OK after wheelchair collision
In the running

R. Cheruiyot 2:10:11
Benjamin Kosgei Kimutai 2:10:34
Martin Lel 2:11:11
Timothy Cherigat 2:11:28
Christopher Cheboiboch 2:12:45
Fedor V. Ryzhov 2:15:29
Rodgers Rop 2:16:14
David Kiptum Busienei 2:16:16
Elly K. Rono 2:17:00
Eddy Hellebuyck 2:17:18
| Men's Top 25 |

Svetlana Zakharova 2:25:20
Lyubov Denisova 2:26:51
Joyce Chepchumba 2:27:20
Margaret Okaya 2:27:39
Marla Runyan 2:30:28
Albina Ivanova 2:30:57
Firaya Sultanova-Zhdanova 2:31:30
Milena Glusac 2:37:32
Jill Gaitenby 2:38:19
Esther Kiplagat 2:38:43
| Women's Top 25 |

Ernst F. Van Dyk1:28:32
Krige Schabort1:30:07
Kelly Smith 1:30:52
| Complete list (men & women) |

Christina Ripp1:54:47
Cheri A. Blauwet1:54:57
Edith Hunkeler1:56:54
| Complete list (men & women) |

Search BAA database of all finishers

Svetlana Zakharova, the elite women's winner of yesterday's 107th Boston Marathon, was asked if she was concerned about Russian countrywoman Lyubov Denisova after Zakharova overtook Denisova for the lead at the 21-mile mark.

Zakharova, whose agent, Konstantine Selinievich, acted as her interpreter in the postrace news conference, briefly pondered the question. She leaned into the microphone and replied: ''Chestno govorya, nyet.''

No translation was needed. Her body language spoke volumes when she replied with a dismissive shrug.

''Honestly speaking, no,'' was Zakharova's translated remark.

When Zakharova's comments were relayed, Denisova, who also used an interpreter, did not offer much of a rebuttal.

''I didn't think I could beat Svetlana today,'' she said.

Denisova settled for second in 2 hours 26 minutes 51 seconds, 34 seconds off her personal best (2:26:17) set in last year's New York City Marathon, where she finished second to Joyce Chepchumba, yesterday's third-place finisher (2:27:20). Denisova joined Zakharova (2:25:20) in becoming the first Russian women to finish 1-2 in this venerable Hopkinton-to-Boston trek.

The two, however, seemed to derive little national pride from the feat.

Perhaps something just got lost in the translation.

''Not just the Russians,'' Zakharova said, ''but all the women prepared equally hard for the race.''

Although it was mistakenly reported by one television analyst that Zakharova, owner of the Russian national marathon record (2:21:31), and Denisova, the 31-year-old winner of last year's Los Angeles Marathon, trained together in the ''Kenya of Russia'' near the mountains of Cheboksary, nothing could have been further from the truth.

''We don't train together,'' said Denisova, who trains near her home in Moscow.

The two iron-willed women waged a Cold War of their own over a 26.2-mile ribbon of asphalt. They cut quite a contrast in styles, with the robotic Zakharova grimacing and churning and pounding the pavement like a Russian boxer while Denisova seemed to glide along the hilly course like a Russian ballerina.

Meanwhile, Margaret Okayo, the Kenyan pixie, struggled to remain in their company.

After winning last year's race in a course-record 2:20:43, Okayo struggled through the Newton hills and began to falter. Okayo wound up fourth in 2:27:39.

''I think I started a little fast,'' said Okayo, who surged to the lead at the 2-mile mark and led the next 4 miles. ''When I reached the 25K, I started to slow down. I don't know why.''

Denisova led the elite field through checkpoints at Miles 7-9. She overtook Okayo as the lead pack approached Framingham. With Okayo, Zakharova, and American Marla Runyan bunched behind her, Denisova tried to gain separation with splits of 5:35 and 5:39 in the eighth and ninth miles, but wound up surrendering the lead to Runyan at the 10-mile mark.

Zakharova and Okayo traded the lead as they drew closer to the hills. But Denisova put on a major push, running a 5:40 split at the 20-mile mark to take the lead from Zakharova as the field approached the toughest part of the course: Heartbreak Hill.

From back in the pack, Denisova suddenly emerged to make a charge up Commonwealth Avenue, giving chase to the faltering Okayo. After passing Okayo, Denisova moved right behind Zakharova at 19 miles and made her move at the base of Heartbreak Hill.

It was at that point, Denisova said, ''There was a possibility that I could win the race.''

Denisova's hopes, however, were quickly dashed when Zakharova responded with a pummeling of the hills, attacking an 80-foot change in elevation with a determined 5:37 split to take the lead at Mile 21.

As Zakharova separated herself with a torrid 5:19 pace to open up a 35-second lead at the 23-mile mark, it was apparent this footrace was for second place.

This story ran on page C3 of the Boston Globe on 4/22/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

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