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Boston Marathon Course section


Hellebuyck, the old master, leads the way

By Ron Indrisano, 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

In a race that hasn't had an American winner in 20 years, it was left to veteran Eddy Hellebuyck to author the best finish by a US male runner in yesterday's Boston Marathon.

At 42, Hellebuyck races in the masters division, and the native of Belgium did not become a citizen of the United States until 1999. He carried the torch well yesterday, finishing 10th overall (2:17:18), and second in the masters division to Fedor Ryzhov, 43, of Russia (2:15:29).

The last American to win Boston was Greg Meyer in 1983, and Hellebuyck wonders where all the American marathoners have gone.

''I'm very proud to be the first American in the field,'' he said. ''To finish in the top 10 is a major accomplishment. I'm happy. To be in the top 10 in Boston is great at the age of 42.

''I was born in a small country. Belgium is the size of Rhode Island. This is a big country and I'm the one representing it. Where is everybody else? It's kind of disappointing that there are not more US runners. The other Americans are not here today.''

Hellebuyck, who lives in Albuquerque, was born to run. He has been in 80 marathons, including two previous Bostons, and is the American record-holder in the masters division at 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), 15 kilometers (9.3 miles), and the half-marathon. It may be hard to fathom, but Hellebuyck ran in a competitive 10K just last Saturday at New Orleans.

''I won the New Orleans race last year as top master, and as defending champion, I felt an obligation to go back and defend the title,'' he said. ''By February, my training was going very well and I was trying to figure out a way to do both. I decided to run the New Orleans race at 75 percent. You feel you owe the organizers when they pay your way, but the race director knew I was running Boston and he told me not to race too hard. I still finished as the second American and the second Master.

''The story of my life is that I can't concentrate on one race. If I train for one race, gear for one race, something always seems to go wrong. I'd rather keep running. I feel a lot better that way. I'm less nervous and I feel less pressure. I would not advise other runners to adopt my lifestyle. To be a serious runner, you should train for one race. But often, when I run back to back, I feel better in the second race. I made $48,000 racing last year, and that's not bad for a master.''

Hellebuyck expected to be in a duel with Ryzhov for the masters crown, and when he tracked his main rival, they found themselves caught up with the best of the younger men in the open division.

''Fedor was my competition,'' said Hellebuyck. ''My goal was to run with him and then hope to outkick him. The first half of the marathon was very fast for me [Hellebuyck ran 1:05:19, 1 second behind Ryzhov]. I don't remember running the first half of a marathon that fast. The crowd really kept me going. I really hope to make the US team for the world championships, and I had a 2:14 in mind. But there was too much headwind for that.

''My focus was on Fedor for the whole race. But you have to pick the right pack. We were in with the right runners. If you get in the wrong group, and the group collapses, that can be trouble. But we were in the right group, and we raced more aggressively. He beat me, but this was his fourth Boston and he knows the course.''

In 1987, Hellebuyck finished eighth in Boston while representing Belgium. In 2001, his only other try as a master, he strained a hamstring and had to drop out.

''When you don't finish the race, it's always disappointing,'' he said. ''I felt badly I didn't make the hills.

''But I feel great about this one. I'm going to have a blast tonight. When I was in New Orleans, I was very religious and didn't go to Bourbon Street. I haven't had a beer in a week, but there will be beers tonight.''

This story ran on page C4 of the Boston Globe on 4/22/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

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