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Sunday, 3 November, 2002, 18:38 GMT
Kenyans sweep NYC Marathon
Joyce Chepchumba and Rodgers Rop pose with their trophies after winning in New York
Chepchumba and Rop celebrate their victories
Rodgers Rop led home a Kenyan one-two-three in the New York Marathon on Saturday while his compatriot Joyce Chepchumba won the women's race.

Rop beat countrymen Laban Kipkemboi and Christopher Cheboiboch into second and third as the East African country confirmed its distance pedigree.


I knew I would win when I broke away
Joyce Chepchumba
"I think to win the New York marathon, it's one of the largest marathons in the world, and that makes you want to be famous all over the world," said Rop.

"I think it's great for our country for us to win, both men and women. I think it will bring our country up."

Chepchumba won the women's race from Russia's Lyubov Denisova, but the Republic of Ireland's Sonia O'Sullivan could only finish a disappointing 12th.

"I knew I would win when I broke away," said Chepchumba.

The leading American woman was Marla Runyan, the first legally blind Olympian, who was attempting a marathon for the first time.

Joyce Chepchumba takes the tape in New York
Joyce Chepchumba won by 20 seconds

Runyan came in fifth ahead of defending champion Margaret Okayo.

In the men's race Rop became the fourth man to win both the Boston and New York Marathons in the same year.

He made his first serious move on the downhill stretch just after the leaders crossed the 59th Street Bridge into Manhattan, about two-thirds of the way through the race.

Other runners occasionally pulled alongside him but he was clearly in control over the final five and a half miles, finishing in a time of two hours, eight minutes and six seconds.

Cheboiboch came home 10 seconds behind with the third Kenyan, Kipkemboi, a further 23 seconds back.

Rop was near the lead for most of last year's race but was hampered by leg cramps and finished third behind Tesfaye Jifar, who was forced to drop out this year near halfway because of stomach problems.


Knowing what pace I can run at I should have gone off much quicker
Irish runner
Sonja O'Sullivan

For the first time the women's race started half an hour ahead of the men's, partly to try and alleviate the problem of crowded roads.

However, there was still some bumping, with the most serious incident seeing Olivera Jevtic and Kerryn McCann tangling and falling over.

Jevtic recovered to finish third but she was unable to go with Chepchumba and Denisova.

The pair ran stride-for-stride until the 24th mile, when the Kenyan made her move.

She threw off her black wool gloves and looked over at Denisova before pulling away just before entering Central Park.

Chepchumba finished in two hours 25 minutes 55 seconds, 20 seconds ahead of Denisova, while O'Sullivan trailed home in a time of 2.32.06

"My legs were getting stiff as I'm not used to running that slow, even when training," said O'Sullivan, who heeded advice not to go off too quickly.

"I suppose inexperience did come into it. Now I'm thinking I should have gone off and run my own race.

"With hindsight, knowing what pace I can run at, I should have gone off much quicker."


Men's results:

1 Rodgers Rop (Ken) 2:08:06
2 Christopher Cheboiboch (Ken) 2:08:16
3 Laban Kipkemboi (Ken) 2:08:39
4 Mohamed Quaadi (Fra) 2:08:53
5 Stefano Baldini (Ita) 2:09:12
6 Mark Carroll (Irl) 2:10:54

Women's results:

1 Joyce Chepchumba (Ken) 2:25:56
2 Lyubov Denisova (Rus) 2:26:16
3 Olivera Jevtic (Yug) 2:26:44
4 Esther Kiplagat (Ken) 2:27:00
5 Marla Runyan (USA) 2:27:10
6 Margaret Okayo (Ken) 2:27:46


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Steve Cram

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