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  Monday, 23 April, 2001, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Tulu and Tergat silence the doubters
Abdelkader El Mouaziz
El Mouaziz leads at 22 miles
BBC Sport's Steve Cram on the performances that really stood out at the Flora London Marathon.

For me, the women's race was more interesting than the men's, with the problems that Tegla Loroupe had.

I don't think she had a choice about stopping to stretch - sure, she lost a minute, but as I understand it, the problem with her pelvis affects her hamstrings and makes it impossible to carry on.

I thought at the time her race was over, but the further she ran, the more it seemed to loosen up.

Paul Tergat
Tergat's marathon debut impressed Steve Cram
But it's extremely difficult running when your mind is on an injury, rather than the race itself.

I was baffled by the tactics of Lida Simon. She was content to start off at a quick pace but then let it slow in the middle section.

That allowed Loroupe to get back with the main group, but it also gave Tulu a bit of an easy ride.

She was never under sustained pressure, never looked in any trouble and just ran a very quiet race.

With hindsight her decision to miss the cross-country season was the right one. The Ethiopian team weren't delighted but it has paid off with her.

Until Sunday there was a big question mark hanging over her. That's gone now.

Great track runners

In the men's race, I was impressed by Paul Tergat's marathon debut.

I'd had my doubts about him in the build-up. People were saying he could run 2:04hrs or 2:05, but we've heard that too many times about great track runners.

I thought he'd struggle over the last seven or eight miles, but as it turned out he was the only one who produced any sort of response to El Mouaziz.

In the last couple of miles he just didn't have that little bit extra.

Sir Steven Redgrave and wife Ann
Steve and Ann Redgrave mid-race
There's very few who can come in and win on their debut, so to get as close as he did to an on-form El Mouaziz and run 2:08 was a fine performance.

He didn't fold, and he knows now that the marathon is an event he can do. He'll go faster next time around.

The men's race suffered from a slow start. There was no-one about who was willing to up the pace enough to make El Mouaziz uncomfortable.

There was the feeling from Pinto that it was all going to be about the second half on the race, that we were going to have a storming last 10 miles.

The reason that didn't materialise was that the others weren't in quite such good shape as we'd been told.

Rumours were that Abel Anton was flying - but, as is always the case with marathons, you can never tell until they get out there.

Michael Caine

Steve Redgrave did well to get round in under five hours.

I know pre-race he was hoping to go under four hours, but that was always going to be a big ask.

To misquote Michael Caine, he's a big man and he's in shape - but at 6'6" and 16 stone he's not ideally suited to running marathons.

And when every runner in the race wants to chat to you on the way round, when every spectator wants to shake your hand, it's going to take a little longer.

The same can be said of Frank Bruno. He didn't have to endure the nightmare he had last year and he'll be grateful for that.


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