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Sunday, 14 April, 2002, 14:22 GMT 15:22 UK
Record day in London
Paula Radcliffe and Khalid Khannouchi
Masters of the marathon: Radcliffe and Khannouchi
The 22nd London Marathon goes down in history as the fastest ever after records tumbled on Sunday.

Khalid Khannouchi triumphed over the finest men's marathon field ever assembled to beat his own world record.

But for most running fans, the day belonged to Paula Radcliffe, who showed her customary tenacity and passion to clinch the women's race.


I didn't realise how close to the world record I was
Paula Radcliffe
Making her marathon debut, the plucky British star easily out-classed her tough opponents, clocking the fastest time in a women's-only race.

She also came desperately close to the overall world record, falling just nine seconds short of Catherine Ndereba's time in last year's Chicago marathon.

"My legs are pretty tired but the rest of me is pretty pleased," Radcliffe told BBC television.

"I didn't realise how close to the world record I was."

Breaking away

It seemed that no record was safe as the world's greatest road-running event got under way on a beautiful Sunday morning.

The cool and sunny conditions were ideal for distance running and the world's best soon took advantage.

Radcliffe made her move early, breaking away from the pack less than a third of the way into the race.

Paula Radcliffe
Radcliffe makes her debut in style
At the halfway mark, the twice world half-marathon and world cross country champion was already an astonishing 83 seconds ahead of second-placed Kenyan Susan Chepkemei.

Radcliffe did not relent, and Russians Svetlana Zakharova and Lyudmila Petrova had to settle for a distant second and third.

The men's race proved to be a closer tussle with Khannouchi outlasting distance great Haile Gebrselassie and Paul Tergat in a tight contest.

The Moroccan-born American broke away in the final two miles to win in a time of 2:05:38, beating his previous world record by four seconds.

World record holder Khalid Khannouchi
Khannouchi put on a record-breaking display
"I knew if the weather was good I could break the world record," he told the BBC.

But it was disappointment for Gebrselassie, who had set a blistering opening pace on his marathon debut.

He came in third behind old track rival Tergat, but still took some consolation that his time was the fastest ever for a marathon debutant.

Elsewhere, Britain's Tanni Grey-Thompson notched up her sixth victory in the women's wheelchair race in London, while compatriot Dave Weir won the men's race.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
USA's Khalid Khannouchi
"Mentally I was tougher than the others"
Paula Radcliffe
"I knew I was in good shape to do it"
BBC Sport Online's guide to the London Marathon

In-depth coverage

Winners in focus

Marathon guides

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Marathon sportstalk

Official website
See also:

14 Apr 02 | Photo Galleries
Links to more London Marathon 2002 stories are at the foot of the page.


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