Noah Bor had a dream debut at the marathon yesterday, when he won the Athens
Classic on the original course from the village of Marathon to Athens.
Originally intended as the pacemaker for his more experienced colleagues, the
27 year old Kenyan repeated the surprise of the recent Berlin and Chicago
marathons, also won by Kenyan abbits. "I didn expect to win, I thought the
others would be too strong, but when they weren coming at me after halfway, I
decided to go," said Bor, whose elder brother Simon is a 2.08 performer.
Frederick Cheruyiot was understandably less ecstatic in second place. "I
thought he was supposed to drop out at 30k," said Bors compatriot. "I
was feeling strong, but I couldn catch him at the end". Less of a dream
was the weather. The event is being upgraded in the run-up to the 2004 Olympic
Games in Athens, but someone forgot to placate the weather gods. The first rain
in the Athens area for seven months was torrential at times, and along with the
strong winds, kept the winners time down to two hours, 19 minutes, 26 seconds,
half a minute ahead of his colleagues, Cheruyiot and Elias Chebet. The irony
wasn lost on Sonja Krolik-Oberem, who won the womens race in 2.36.15. Fifth in
the recent world championships in Edmonton, having set a personal best of
2.26.13 this year, the German had said earlier this week that she had come to
Athens looking for warm weather. After a rain-lashing on an already tough
course, in eight degrees centigrade, she said, "Those are the hardest
conditions Ive ever experienced. It was hell out there". Nevertheless,
this is one of the preparations for the Olympics which is going to plan. The
entry doubled this year, with over half of the 1600 runners coming from abroad,
the largest number (227) from the USA, a measure of the lure of the races
history, considering New York was on the same day.
ATHENS CLASSIC MARATHON, NOVEMBER 4 - RESULTS
1. Noah BOR, KEN, 2:19:26; 2. Frederick, CHERUIYOT KEN, 2:19:52; 3. Elias
CHEBET, KEN, 2:19:59; 4. Hideaki NUMAJIRI, JPN, 2:20:03; 5. Josephat CHEMJOR,
KEN, 2:20:29; 6. Onesmus MUTISYA, 2:21:58; 7. Nikos POLIAS, GRE, 2:23:58; 8.
Julius RUTTO, KEN, 2:24:44; 9. Gerasimos KOKOTOS, GRE, 2:32:16; 10. Panagiotis
IOANNIDIS, GRE, 2:32:35
1. Sonja KROLIK-OBEREM, GER, 2:36:15; 2. Albina IVANOVA, RUS, 2:40:18; 3.
Svetlana PONOMARENKO , RUS, 2:46:58; 4. Giorgia ABATZIDOU, GRE, 2:48:37; 5.
Kumiko FUKOZAWA, JPN, 2:53:32