In a race that was expected to be little more than another coronation for world record holder Paula Radcliffe, Ethiopia's Derartu Tulu emerged a surprise winner. With a conservative pace from the gun, the women's lead pack eventually whittled down to Christelle Daunay of France, Ludmila Petrova of Russia, Radcliffe and Tulu. It was a quartet of experience, with all four women over 34: Daunay is 34, Radcliffe 35, Tulu 37 and Petrova 41.
Struggling with tendonitis behind her knee , Radcliffe began to flag in the final miles, and it came down to a two-woman race between Petrova and Tulu, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and one-time bronze medalist at 10,000 meters. Shortly before turning into Central Park, with about 600 meters remaining, Tulu pulled away to win in 2:28:52, with Petrova second in 2:29:00 and Daunay third in 2:19:16. Radcliffe was fourth in 2:29:27. Magdalena Lewy Boulet was the top American woman, placing sixth in 2:32:17.
Joan Benoit Samuelson on Sunday became the fastest female marathoner over age 50, finishing in 2:49:09. The 52-year-old's performance came 25 years after she became the first women's Olympic marathon gold medalist at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.
For complete results from the ING New York City Marathon, visit www.nycmarathon.org
For more on USATF and the USA Running Circuit, visit www.usatf.org
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS