Sunday, September 26
Loroupe sets women's marathon record
Associated Press

 BERLIN -- Aided by three male pacesetters, Kenya's Tegla Loroupe broke her world record in the women's marathon by four seconds Sunday, winning the Berlin Marathon in 2 hours, 20 minutes, 43 seconds.

Tegla Loroupe
Loroupe crosses the line in record time.
"I'm very happy to win," the 4-foot-10, 88-pound Loroupe said. "I didn't expect the record. I was so tired around the (halfway) mark."

Loroupe had set the previous mark of 2:20:47 at Rotterdam, Netherlands, on April 18, 1998.

Her record gave the Berlin Marathon the fastest times in history for men and women. Brazil's Ronaldo da Costa set the men's record of 2:06:05 last year.

Loroupe, a two-time New York City Marathon winner, was about 30 seconds off her Rotterdam pace at 21.7 miles of the 26.2-mile race. She was having problems with her left leg and with fatigue. Then, a downhill slope to the finish helped her.

She reached 24.8 miles only three seconds off her best mark and started a final kick that had thousands cheering near the finish line in downtown Berlin.

"Two weeks ago, I ran the last 10 kilometers in practice, so I knew exactly where I was," Loroupe said. "The crowd really helped me."

In a race that attracted about 26,500 runners, Kenya's Josephat Kiprono won the men's division race with the third-fastest time in history, 2:06:44. He ran alone for most of the second half of the race.

His only challenge came when Japan's Takayuki Inubushi closed within five seconds of him at 21.7 miles. The little-known Inubushi then fell back and wound up second at 2:06:57, the fifth-fastest ever and a Japanese record.

"I thought the Japanese was going to catch me, but I knew I had enough in reserve," Kiprono said.

Kiprono's time is topped only by that of da Costa and South African Gert Thys, who clocked 2:06:32 Feb. 14 at Tokyo.

Kenya's Samson Kandie was third at 2:08:34 and Morocco's Hicham Chatt fourth at 2:09:56.

Loroupe, the dominant women's marathoner in recent years, had said she wanted to set the record in her Berlin debut and was hoping to crack the 2:20 barrier. She ran out front with her three Kenyan pacemakers from the start.

With the three men calling out splits and running ahead as a shield when headwinds blew on some streets, Loroupe was 90 seconds ahead of her Rotterdam pace early in the race.

But she ran into trouble just after the halfway point, where she was timed in 1:06:04, gradually falling behind her previous world record pace until regaining her speed.

Marleen Renders of Belgium, the 1998 champion, finished second at 2:23:58, a national record. Russia's Svetlana Zakharova was third at 2:27:07.

Loroupe had been given the entry No. 219, as in 2:19:00, with both organizers and the Kenyan hoping she would become the first woman to break 2:20.

"I'm sorry I didn't run 2:19," Loroupe said. "I tried so hard but it didn't work. But now I know I can run 2:19."

Loroupe collected $28,000 for winning and another $100,000 for the record.