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London Marathon 2007



Zhou Chunxiu crosses the finishing line
Zhou lived up to her billing as the fastest woman going into the race
Zhou Chunxiu became the first Chinese woman to win the London Marathon.

In testing, warm conditions, the 28-year-old broke away from Lornah Kiplagat and Gete Wami after 22 miles.

Zhou won in a time of two hours, 21 minutes and 38 seconds with Wami second and Romanian Constantina Tomescu-Dita coming through well to finish third.

Mara Yamauchi was the leading Briton, coming sixth after running a strong second half of the race while Liz Yelling was eighth.

But Kathy Butler dropped out halfway through in the difficult conditions.

606: DEBATE

Zhou had stated before the race that her main focus was on next year's Beijing Olympics, and she sent out an ominous warning to her rivals in London.

Britain's Paula Radcliffe expects to be back to form for a tilt at the title in Beijing.

Zhou said of the world record holder: "She's an amazing runner who I look up to and I would like to run against her in Beijing."

Zhou, 28, tracked Kiplagat and Wami throughout the race as they broke away from the field between 10 and 12 miles.

When Kiplagat fell away in the last three miles after dominating the pace, Zhou seized her opportunity and unleashed a devasting 5:09-minute mile to streak away from Wami.

Mara Yamauchi
Yamauchi is the first Briton to cross the line in sixth

Zhou was the fastest woman in the field with a personal best of 2:19.51 and lived up to her billing, coming home more than a minute ahead of Wami.

"I knew I was in with a chance of winning because my training has gone so well this year," Zhou said.

"The weather and heat did not affect me as this is the type of heat I train in."

Kiplagat finished fifth just ahead of Yamauchi and Australia's former world cross country champion Benita Johnson.

Yamauchi clocked 2:25.31 and Yelling set a personal best 2:30.44 - both times were well inside the qualifying standard of 2:31 for this summer's World Championships in Japan.

"On this kind of hot day it was too fast for me early on and I just ran my own race," said Yamachui, who is based in Toyko.

"I'm quite pleased and I'm hoping to do the Worlds in September, though it will be much hotter and humid there."


Women's marathon top 10 results:

1. Chunxiu Zhou (Chi) 2 hours, 20 minutes, 38 seconds
2. Gete Wami (Eth), 2:21:45
3. Constantina Tomescu-Dita (Rom) 2:23:55
4. Salina Kosgei (Ken) 2:24:13
5. Lornah Kiplagat (Ned) 2:24:46
6. Mara Yamauchi (GB) 2:25:41
7. Benita Johnson (Aus) 2:29:47
8. Liz Yelling (GB) 2:30:44
9. Inga Abitova (Rus) 2:34:25
10. Berhane Adere (Eth) 2:39:11



SEE ALSO
'Prisoners' eye Marathon record
22 Apr 07 |  London
Runners swelter in marathon heat
22 Apr 07 |  England


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