AFRICAN ATHLETES WIN BIG AT THE ING NEW YORK CITY MARATHON RACE

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Seven Runners Score in Top Ten Combined Men’s & Women’s Categories


THE BIG WIN


There are wins based on besting others. There are wins based on personal best. There are wins determined by endurance and going the distance. Then there are wins associated with the successful relaying of the baton or by the simple acts of moving forward and catching up. These interpretations combined declare Africa as the biggest winner of last Sunday’s ING New York City Marathon – the largest marathon in the world – where 45,000 runners set out to reach the finish line.

THE TOP THREE MARATHONERS: Ethiopia's Gebre Gebremariam (center), the 2010 ING New York Marathon champion, is flanked by Moses Kigen Kipkosgei, third place winner (left) and Emmanuel Mutai, the second place finisher, both from Kenya. (Credit Image: (c) Sonia Moskowitz/Globe Photos/

Seven runners – 5 men and 2 women – from Kenya, Ethiopia and Morocco posted fast times in the top 10.. The USA had two winners; Russia, one. Among the women, Kenyans Edna Ngeringwony Kiplagat, 31 (2: 28:20), mother of two who was the first-place winner; and Mary Keitany (2:29:01), third, cruised to the finish line. The top five in the men’s division were: 26-year-old Gebre-egziabher (“Gebre”) Gebremariam (2:08:14) of Ethiopia (in his first NYC Marathon); Emmanuel Mutai (2:09:18) of Kenya; Moses Kigen Kipkosgei (2:10:39) of Kenya; Abderrahim Goumri (2:10:51) of Morocco; and James Kwambai (2:11:31) of Kenya. The runners bested defending champion Meb Keflezighi (2:11:38) of the U.S, who placed sixth. America’s Shalane Flanagan (2:28:40), in her first-ever marathon, was the second-place finisher in the women’s category; Inga Abitova of Russia (2:29:17), fourth; and Kim Smith (2:29:28) of the United States, fifth.

Mr. Gebremariam, father of two sons, grew up in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and trained later near Addis Ababa. In the final two miles of the New York City Marathon, he breezed to the finish line, all by himself. Almost. Something happened on the Queensboro Bridge. To learn how to go the distance, Mr. Gebremariam studied the style and moves of role model Haile Gebrselassie, considered the greatest long distance runner ever with 27 world records, including his unbroken 2:03:59, set in Berlin in 2008. The athlete, who starred in Endurance, a Disney movie about his life story, intended on Sunday to conquer the only world-class marathon he had never run, New York City’s. As everyone knows, Gebrselassie was forced to leave the race just before the 16-mile mark due to a serious leg injury. What many people do not know is Mr. Gebrselassie is a champion off the track. He is known for his extensive charity work on behalf of Ethiopian causes and “his dedication to expanding the running community to people of every ability.” The great star ended his career crossing the Queensboro Bridge, but not before commanding his heir, Mr. Gebremariam, to victory.

The story goes like this, according to the Associated Press: Gebre Gebremariam saw his country’s greatest marathoner pull up in pain on the Queensboro Bridge at the 16th mile. He urged Haile Gebrselassie to keep going, but what the world-record holder felt in his right knee told him his career was over, and it was time for a new Ethiopian star. “I can’t, Gebre. You have to move,” the 37-year-old told Gebremariam as the leaders of the New York City Marathon ran on. “You have to reach them.” Gebremariam, who started the race certain he couldn’t win it … {became} the first man to win New York in his marathon debut since Cuba’s Alberto Salazar in 1980.

The winner from each division received $130,000. Second place earns $65,000 and third $40,000, respectively. Men (Full marathon) 2010 1: Gebre Gebremariam – 2:08:14 – Ethiopia 2: Emmanuel Mutai – 2:09:18 – Kenya 3: Moses Kigen Kipkosgei – 2:10:39 – Kenya 4: Abderrahim Goumri – 2:10:51 – Morocco 5: James Kwambai – 2:11:31 – Kenya Women (Full marathon) 2010 1: Edna Kiplagat – 2:28:20 – Kenya 2: Shalane Flanagan – 2:28:40 – United States 3: Mary Keitany – 2:29:01 – Kenya 4: Inga Abitova – 2:29:17 – Russia 5: Kim Smith – 2:29:28 – United States

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