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IN BOSTON CHERUIYOT DEFENDS & TUNE WINS DRAMATIC SPRINT - rrw

Published by
ross   on Apr 21 2008, 09:09 PM

4/21/08
By David Monti
(c) 2008 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved - used with permission

BOSTON (21-Apr) -- Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot won his fourth Boston Marathon and Dire Tune her
first in a memorable 112th edition of America's oldest and most historic marathon race.

Cheruiyot, the 29 year-old Kenyan who is the reigning World Marathon Majors champion, made a run
at his own course record, leading a pack of six through the half-way in a brisk 1:03:07.
Compatriots James Kwambai and James Mwangi Macharia joined him along with Moroccan Abderrahime Bouramdane
and Ethiopians Kasime Adillo and Tesfaye Girma.

"As usual the course was very difficult and I tried to push harder this year to achieve my
personal goal of running a 2:07," said Cheruiyot.

With a 4:37 19th mile, Cheruiyot dropped his last three rivals: Bouramdane, Kwambai and Adillo.
Running in cool temperatures, but under brightened skies, the tall Kenya's pace finally began to
slow. Through mile 24 he was still on a 2:07:03 pace but visibly laboring. He would make it to the
finish line on Boyleston Street about half a minute outside of his own record. Nonetheless, his
finish time of 2:07:46 was still the third fastest winning time ever in Boston.

Part of Cheruiyot's objective today was to impress Kenyan selectors and earn a berth on the
Beijing Olympic team. "They will select one of the athletes from Boston," Cheruiyot explained. "I am
hoping all will be selected. I will produce a good race if selected."

Behind Cheruiyot, Bouramdane had a rough second half, but still finished second in 2:09:04, well
off of his 2:08:20 personal best. Bouramdane's compatriot, Khalid El Boumlili, passed four other
athletes in the second half to take third in 2:10:35, setting a personal best. Kwambai, who was
second in Boston last year, faded to eighth.

TUNE WINS CLOSEST WOMEN'S RACE HERE EVER

Tune, the 22 year-old Ethiopian who won the Chevron Houston Marathon just 93 days ago, looked
fresh as a daisy after an easy first half of 1:14:46. The same pack of ten women who broke away just
after the starter's gun in the all-women's elite race were still together, including defending
champion Lidiya Grigoryeva of Russia, two-time ING New York City Marathon champion Jelena Prokopcuka
of Latvia, and 2006 Boston champion Rita Jeptoo of Kenya.

The pack was still mostly intact through 25-K (15.5 mi.), but in the next 5 km Prokopcuka and
Grigoryeva were dropped, leaving Tune with only Jeptoo and little known Russian Alevtina Biktimirova
in serious contention.

"Even before coming to Boston, I was confident that I could win the Boston Marathon," said Tune
after the race. "From the beginning to the end of the race, my training and performance helped me
to finish strong."

If only her competitors knew HOW strong. With help from Biktimirova, Jeptoo was soon dropped, and
for the last 10 km of the race the sturdy Russian and the wispy Ethiopian pushed each other to
the final kilometer on Boyleston Street. The two traded surges in front of the roaring crowds, each
seeming to take the lead for good before being caught. Tune was confident.

"Once I saw the finish line I was certain that I would finish first," she said.

And so it was. Tune took the lead for good with about 100 meters to go and Biktimirova, the 2007
Honolulu Marathon Champion, finished two seconds adrift of Tune, 2:25:25 to 2:25:27. That was the
closest women's finish ever in the history of the Boston Marathon. Tune, who became the youngest
women's Boston champion since Joan Benoit Samuelson in 1979 who was 21, covered the second half
of the race in a sparkling 1:10:40 to Biktimirova's 1:10:43.

"I am happy to win in Boston," said Tune who, like Cheruiyot, won $150,000.

Jeptoo hung on for third in 2:26:34, while Prokopcuka finished fourth in 2:28:12. There was some
discussion after the race that Prokopcuka's manager had protested the result based on the belief
that Jeptoo had taken at least one of Prokopcuka's drink bottles in the latter stages of the race.
A spokesman for the Boston Athletic Association, Marc Chalufour, said that there was no official
protest and the order of finish was not altered.

The top American finisher was Nicholas Arciniaga, 24, of Rochester Hills, Mich., part of the
Hansons team. He clocked 2:16:13 off of a 1:07:00 first half to take 10th place. The top American
woman was Ashley Anklam, 22, of Bloomington, Minn., who did not compete in yesterday's Olympic Trials.
She finished 15th in 2:48:43. American Wendy Terris, who finished 109th in yesterday's Trials,
clocked 3:03:18 in today's race.

ENDS

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