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Radcliffe wins NYC Marathon

08/11/2004 05:39:36 AM Comments (0)

Britain's Paula Radcliffe surged ahead in the final strides to win the closest New York City Marathon in history in 2 hours, 23 minutes, 10 seconds - less than three months after pulling out of the Athens Games just a few kilometres from the finish in a fit of tears.

Radcliffe edged Kenya's Susan Chepkemei by 4 seconds to become the race's first non-Kenyan women's champion since 2000. She raised her arms in triumph after crossing the line and wrapped herself in the Union Jack flag.

The previous record for closest women's finish in New York was 5 seconds, Wanda Panfil's margin over Kim Jones in 1990.

"I was reasonably confident I could overtake her," Radcliffe said.

The men's race wasn't nearly as thrilling, with Hendrik Ramaala of South Africa winning in 2:09:28 for his first marathon victory. Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezighi of the United States was next, 25 seconds behind.

Ramaala, like Radcliffe, got a bit of redemption in this race after pulling out of the Olympic marathon with a groin injury.

"I always said I will win a big marathon one day," he said. "It didn't happen for four years, but I kept on trying. Finally, I made it."

But Ramaala actually missed out on the tradition of cracking the tape across the finish line because he didn't see it, leaving Mayor Michael Bloomberg and race director Allan Steinfeld holding the unbroken tape. Ramaala later apologised for his mistake.

Radcliffe and Chepkemei ran side by side for the final 8 kilometres, with both women trying to jostle for position. But Radcliffe made one final push under cascading autumn leaves to pull out the victory.

"I was pleased Susan was running with me. She's a good friend," Radcliffe said.

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