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Sunday, 14 April, 2002, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
Khannouchi: Marathon marvel
Khalid Khannouchi wins the 2002 London Marathon in record time
Khalid Khannouchi finished third in London in 2000
BBC Sport Online profiles Khalid Khannouchi, winner of the London Marathon in world-record time.

Khalid Khannouchi's talent was well known to his rivals before the 2002 London Marathon.

But his record run at this year's event will have raised his profile worldwide, announcing him as one of the best long-distance runners ever.

The Moroccon-born American eclipsed the great Haile Gebrselassie - who finished third on his debut at the distance - and improved his world mark to two hours five minutes and 38 seconds.

  Career highlights
1993: Moves to the USA
1997: Wins Chicago Marathon on debut
1999: Sets world record
2000: Wins third Chicago title
2002: Hits new heights at the London Marathon

Despite a relentless and blistering pace in the early stages, Khannouchi found the will to kick past his rivals during the last two miles.

"That was a tough race," he said.

"With the quality of the field that we had today, everyone had to work so hard to win. Thank God I had the strength at the end.

"Mentally I was a bit tougher than the others."

That is a quality that has served him well in his career.

Khannouchi had endured a difficult two years before his record-breaking performance in London.

He finished third in the same race in 2000, but was forced out of the US Olympic trials by a hamstring injury suffered en route.

Haile Gebrselassie tastes rare defeat in the 2002 London Marathon
Gebrselassie has some catching up to do

He bounced back to form this year, winning a half-marathon in Japan in March before destroying a world-class field on Sunday.

The 30-year-old started running in Morocco, but did not take the world stage until he immigrated to the USA in 1993.

Having been refused financial assitance by the Moroccon track federation, Khannouchi moved to Brooklyn, where he washed dishes to support his training.

By the time he was made a US citizen seven years later, he had already won the prestigious Chicago Marathon four times.

On his 26-mile debut at that event in 1997, Khannouchi served notice of his ability by winning in a speedy time of 2:07.10.

The following year, he successfully defended his Chicago title, before prevailing again in 1999 in a world-record time of 2:05.42.

Now he has beaten that time - and on his current form few would bet against him lowering the mark still further.

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 ON THIS STORY
USA's Khalid Khannouchi
"Mentally I was tougher than the others"
BBC Sport Online's guide to the London Marathon

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Winners in focus

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Links to more London Marathon 2002 stories are at the foot of the page.


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