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Another great triumph for Evans Rutto

Kenyan wins high class London Marathon in 2:06:18 while Margaret Okayo runs 2:22:35


This year’s London Marathon was rated as a dress rehearsal for the Olympic Games in August since the field was so strong. But in the end there was a triumph for a runner who was not nominated by the Kenyan federation for the Olympic Games’ marathon. Evans Rutto stormed into the finish of Buckingham Palace clocking a world class time of 2:06:18. So this was an extraordinary triumph for the group of Kenyan runners to which Uta Pippig belongs as well. All of them are coached by Dieter Hogen. The women’s race saw a great winning time as well. Margaret Okayo (Kenya) clocked a world leading 2:22:35.

It was about ten years ago when Dieter Hogen started working with Kenyan marathon runners. He cooperated with the late manager Kim McDonald. His athletes were successful already in the 90ies, when for example Sammy Lelei won the Berlin Marathon in 1995, Lameck Aguta took the Boston Marathon title in 1997 and Ondoro Osoro triumphed in Chicago in 1998. During the last twelve months Hogen had intensified his work with the Kenyans. He spent several months during the year coaching a group of about eight athletes in either Kenya or Boulder (US).

It was already in autumn last year when the work started paying off: Evans Rutto won his very first marathon race in Chicago and clocked the fastest debut time ever (2:05:50). So Rutto was 45 seconds faster than Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) in London 2002. Now he ran only his second marathon and won again. But while he was not nominated by the Kenyan federation for the Olympic marathon in Athens second placed Sammy Korir was. Korir clocked 2:06:48 in London on Sunday. He still is the second fastest marathon runner ever, having run 2:04:56 in last year’s Berlin Marathon.

“It is a great feeling to be the champion of the London Marathon. I expected to be stronger than Sammy Korir”, Evans Rutto said. He added: “But the rain was not good. The weather stopped me from running faster.” But there was a fright on the way to victory. Because at 35 k Evans Rutto slipped on the wet surface when he had to run around a tight corner. He awfully fall on the stone surface and Sammy Korir, who was running next to him, fell on the ground as well because Rutto slipped into him. World Champion Jaouad Gharib (Morocco), who was third in the end clocking 2:07:02, also slipped at this point of the course. It was careless by the organisers not to have secured this stretch.

With his knees being bloody Rutto continued and soon increased the pace to leave behind Sammy Korir. Instead of the Olympic Marathon Evans Rutto will now prepare for the Chicago Marathon in October. But first he will travel back to Kenya for a rest. It had been Rutto who pushed the pace after half way (pacemakers led the first group through in 63:10 minutes). Together with his training partner John Yuda (Tansania) they ran away from the field and it was only Sammy Korir who was able to follow them. Yuda was then unlucky because he got a muscle problem and finally finished only ninth in 2:10:13.

Kenyas running legend Kip Keino (right) and IAAF President Lamine Diack congratulate the winners of the London Marathon, Evans Rutto and Margaret Okayo (left)

Having nominated Margaret Okayo for the Olympic Marathon Kenya can expect a very good performance from her in Athens. After winning Boston and New York before the 27 year-old now ran London for the first time and won again. Okayo could become a serious rival for Paula Radcliffe in the Olympic marathon. “I don’t expect that I will be able to beat Paula, but I will try it”, Okayo said. Radcliffe, who had run a sensational world record last year in London (2:15:25), had decided some time ago not to run the London Marathon this year. Instead she prefers a long term preparation for Athens. Still Paula Radcliffe was in Lodon on Sunday, cheering on her brother who ran the race.

“My aim was to run fast but I couldn’t run as fast as I wanted because of the weather”, Margaret Okayo said. She was running her own race right from the start. And she was indeed running fast during the first few miles. Her split times even suggested a sub 2:20 result. But then she slowed and Romanian Constantina Tomescu-Dita, who finally came in third in 2:26:52, passed her. But Okayo came back into the race and passed the Romanian. In the end she was well in front of second placed Ludmila Petrowa (Russia/2:26:02). “I did not pay attention to what Constantina Dita was running”, Okayo later said.

Results, London Marathon:

Men: 1. Evans Rutto (Kenya) 2:06:18, 2. Sammy Korir (Kenya) 2:06:48, 3. Jaouad Gharib (Marocco) 2:07:02, 4. Stefano Baldini (Italy) 2:08:37, 5. Tesfaye Tola (Ethiopia) 2:09:07, 6. Benoit Zwierzchiewski (France) 2:09:35, 7. Abdelkader El Mouaziz (Marocco) 2:09:42, 8. Lee Troop (Australia) 2:09:58, 9. John Yuda (Tansania) 2:10:13, 10. Joseph Kadon (Kenya) 2:11:30.

Women: 1. Margaret Okayo (Kenya) 2:22:35, 2. Ludmila Petrowa (Russia) 2:26:02, 3. Constantina Tomescu-Dita (Romania) 2:26:52, 4. Albina Iwanowa (Russia) 2:27:25, 5. Joyce Chepchumba (Kenya) 2:28:01, 6. Swetlana Sacharowa (Russia) 2:28:10, 7. Sun Yingjie (China) 2:28:32, 8. Alina Iwanowa (Russia) 2:28:48, 9. Swetlana Demidenko (Russia) 2:33:06, 10. Tracey Morris (Great Britain) 2:33:52.

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