New York Marathon Preview

NEW YORK, Oct. 30 (AFP) - Tiny Catherine Ndereba,known as Catherine the Great,'' is generally acceptedas the woman to beat in Sunday's 34th New York Marathonwhile a host of top Kenyans are favored in the men'sevent. Ndereba, 31, the former world record holder andcurrent women's world marathon champion, could becomethe first woman since Ingrid Kristiansen of Norway towin the US marathon triple - Chicago, Boston and NewYork. The 98-pound Kenyan says her goal is to win ratherthan chase records. Race director Allan Steinfeld said more than 30,000runners will be running cautiously because of expectedwarm conditions. Whatever the weather, the athletes will be takencare of,’’ he said.
There will be more than 1.9 million cups ofrefreshments, 17,160 pounds of ice and 25 medical aidstations along the 26-mile, 385-yard route through thefive boroughs of New York.
A record 100,000 dollars will go to both the men’s andwomen’s champion from a prize money pool of 532,000dollars.
As has become the trend since 1994, Kenyans havedominated the race.
Men’s defending champion Rodgers Rop heads the list ofpossible winners this year with countrymen ChristopherCheboiboch, Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, two-time winnerJohn Kagwe and Laban Kipkemboi.
Spain’s Julio Rey is also expected to finishprominently. American Phillimon Hanneck is aiming to run2 hours and 10 minutes. I don't know what to expect,''he said. Hanneck is coached by Alberto Salazar, the lastAmerican to win here, back in 1982. Hanneck ran 145miles a week for four and a half months before cuttingto 90 miles last week and 60 miles over the past week. A month ago he tested himself by running 22 miles at4:59 a mile. I felt really good and I felt I could pick it up,’‘he said. Albert is a very tough coach. It is no pain,no gain with him and that's the way it should be.'' The women's elite field of 48 is arguably the best tocompete here with Ndereba headlining the show ahead ofAmerican Marla Runyan, Kenyan-born Dutch runner LornahKiplagat, Kenyans Joyce Chepchumba, course record holderMargaret Okayo, who set the 2:24:21 mark in 2001, andRussian Ludmila Petrova. This year will be more competitive and probablyfaster. This is not an easy course, hard concrete, andhills and you get sore. Last year I could hardly walkafter the race,’’ said Runyan, who is legally blindbecause of a childhood illness known as Stargardt’sdisease.
The warm weather will affect the race. I prefer itcooler. We'll see how it goes.'' Petrova, the 2000 winner, was guarded about herchances, saying: I can’t predict the outcome, but Ifeel ready to compete. I don’t like the heat, but youhave to run in it. I prefer the rain.’’
Kiplagat, seventh last year in 2:28:41, expects morethis year, saying: ``I’ve trained very hard to win thisrace, not to lose it. Last year I had a bad day in thesecond half of the race. I hope I have a better day thisyear. I am in better condition this year.’’

You also forgot to mention that Rapper/Producer/Entrepreneur Sean “P.Diddy” Combs will be running the 26 mile marathon. He is doing it for a childrens charity.

That should be exciting too see. He has made alot of preparations for this marathon, which is his first.

That’s nice when someone like P.Diddy gets involved for the benefit of others. Running or even walking a marathon is quite a commitment.

Also it will be interesting to see how Alberto Saladbar fairs in the coaching game. I knew he was involved, just hadn’t heard of any successes coming from his proteges. I’d be pleased to be enlightened though if anyone knows. He seems also like a really decent person.

This is ironic! As I’m reading this post a show about P. Diddy training for the marathon comes on mtv.