Posts Tagged ‘marathon’

NEW YORK CITY MARATHON

Palm Beach Post -Oct 21, 2008, 2004 – Hal Habib – Radcliffe wins closest women’s race. Four seconds help to cure Olympic heartache.

{Note: Dr. Murray appeared on BBC to talk about Paula Radcliffe along with Olympic speed skater Dan Jansen. You can hear the entire interview in the Audio & Video section of this website}

NEW YORK � They say the New York City Marathon can be a brutal race, spanning all five boroughs and countless hills and bridges over 26.2 miles.
Lies, all lies.

Britain’s Paula Radcliffe surges past Kenya’s Susan Chepkemei in Central Park during the final stretch of the New York City Marathon.
England’s Paula Radcliffe was crowned champion Sunday afternoon by winning a race that required 11 weeks and 5,393 miles of endurance.
Remember, Radcliffe was the one who failed to win the Olympic marathon in Greece. The one who failed to even finish either of her two races in Greece. The one who failed, period. “Radcliffe dream dies in gutter,” read one British headline, which wasn’t even the worst of it.
Here’s one headline that might work for this morning: Fleet feet beat Fleet Street.

Sunday, Radcliffe fought off the critics and Kenya’s Susan Chepkemei to capture the closest women’s race in the New York City Marathon’s 35-year history, winning by fourseconds in 2 hours, 23 minutes, 10 seconds.

“This wasn’t about redemption,” her husband, Gary, kept saying afterward, except the more he talked, the less he sounded like even he was buying it.

“When you go through something as traumatic as that,” he finally said, “I guess there’s going to be some mental thing, mental scars. It’s a trauma.”

Radcliffe herself admitted as much. By Mile 24, it was unclear what was causing her more distress, her Saturday night dinner of cold spaghetti Bolognese or Chepkemei turning up the heat with stride-for-stride pressure. Someone asked her whether she had any flashbacks to Athens. “Nothing like that horrible feeling,” she answered.
Who could have known that as the world-record holder and overwhelming favorite sat crying on that curb in Greece, the seeds for triumph were planted?

Watching the scene unfold on the video board at the old Olympic stadium were Mary Wittenburg, executive vice president of the New York Road Runners, and media relations director Richard Finn. Wittenburg, a former champion of the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, knew precisely how to help Radcliffe.

“We were standing at the top of the stadium and I said, ‘Paula should run New York,’ ” Wittenburg said. “I knew she could win it. After a major disappointment like that, we kind of stand back and take more of a supportive approach â€â€? we started working on 2005 â€â€? but personally, immediately I thought this is what she should do.”
She e-mailed Radcliffe: “Why don’t you come to the race this year as a spectator? You and Gary can spend a weekend in New York.”
Sure, the Radcliffes said. Then, on Oct. 18, Wittenburg received an e-mail: “I’m somewhat keen to thinking it might be good to run this year. What do you think?”

Wittenburg wanted to reply, “We’d be quite keen to have you,” but played it straight. “We would welcome you with open arms.”
By the time financial details were worked out and the announcements were made, only 12 days remained until the starting gun. It was hard to tell what was more shocking â€? that the world’s premier marathoner would commit to a race so late or that she’d even consider competing so soon after also dropping out of the Olympic 10,000 meters.

The British wondered if, at age 30, Radcliffe had much left, even though it was only last year that she smashed the world record with a 2:15:25. In the past several days, Liz McColgan, the last Brit to win New York, questioned why Radcliffe would enter, and the headlines included, “Why is Radcliffe risking it all?” Questions abounded on how much New York was paying her to appear and whether she just wanted to promote her upcoming book, The Story So Far.

“I don’t think it was about sending out messages,” Radcliffe said of the victory. “It was about running well and enjoying it and just being back to racing normally. And in its own right, winning New York is very special to me.”

It should be. The women upstaged the men in a race that lived up to its billing as having the best women’s field in New York’s history.
“Dreams can sometime come true and it came true today,” race director Allan Steinfeld said.

The field included the Netherlands’ Lornah Kiplagat, who had complained that Radcliffe’s late entry was “a bit selfish” and forced her to change her tactics. Kiplagat stayed among the lead pack until shortly before the 20-mile mark; she faded to seventh.
Radcliffe, meanwhile, looked like Radcliffe, which is to say her head bob made it appear she was suffering from the first step. She was a stride ahead of Chepkemei along Central Park South, but Chepkemei, her arms flailing, pulled even as they entered the final 400 yards toward the finish at Tavern on the Green. If Radcliffe was going to win, it would require one more surge. She had it in her.

“Paula was out here to prove herself as one of the best marathoners in the world and she did that,” said American Deena Kastor, the bronze medalist from Athens who failed to finish Sunday because of leg cramps. “She had a rough race but that’s the nature of this sport â€? when it’s bad, it’s really ugly and when it’s good, we can come out with shiny medals and strong performances.”

True, but there’s one medal Radcliffe still doesn’t own.

“I don’t think you can really quantify today and relate it to Athens,” Gary Radcliffe said. “I mean, Athens was Athens and this is a unique event. Obviously she’s very happy and she can move on. This wasn’t about redemption. It wasn’t about saying ‘look at me’ or whatever. This is about her turning the page and moving forward.”
And if that page has a rosy headline today, all the better.