Silva, Loroupe survive wind and chill to repeat Each dedicates victory to a lost loved one


NEW YORK -- German Silva of Mexico and Tegla Loroupe of Kenya grew up in heat and have trained in heat. So they felt right at home last year when they won the New York City Marathon on a day when the temperature was 68 degrees and the humidity was 78 percent.

So what happened yesterday when the temperature dived to 40 degrees, by far the coldest ever for this five-borough spectacle? What happened when the wind blew at 21 mph to 32 mph, when gusts on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at the start reached 58 mph and the wind-chill index was a February-like 18 degrees?

Different day. Same results. In the last three miles of the men's race, Silva, 27, broke open a tight battle and beat Paul Evans, a 34-year-old Englishman, by 35 yards. Silva covered the 26 miles, 385 yards in 2 hours, 11 minutes.

With 10 miles left in the women's race, Loroupe, 22, said goodbye to her only threat, Manuela Machado, the 32-year-old world champion from Portugal, and won by almost a half-mile in 2:28:06.

Both winning times were good, but not great. Factoring in the cold, they were remarkable, a tribute to the winners' ability and their command of marathon tactics. After Loroupe crossed the finish line, the two winners congratulated each other in an emotional embrace, for both were running in the memory of loved ones who had died. Silva's father, Agapito, lost his battle with cancer during the summer, and Loroupe's sister, Albina, died only 13 days ago from severe stomach hemorrhages.

The conditions were scary, especially for Loroupe, a 78-pound wisp. "It was extremely difficult," she said. "I tried to move my hands and legs, but I couldn't. I am very light. The wind was so strong, I almost fell down. The crowds were all of them calling my name and saying, 'You look good,' and I was feeling bad."

"It was just too cold," Machado said. "At 35 kilometers, I almost froze. I'm looking forward to the Olympics in Atlanta, which should be much warmer."

William Koech, who finished third among the men, summed it up: "In Kenya," he said, "we have no weather like this."

Americans were no factors in either race. The U.S. Olympic Trials for next summer's Atlanta Olympics, will be held early next year, so the best Americans scratched New York from this year's calendar. The highest finishing American man was Bob Schwelm of Byrn Mawr, Pa., 37th, in 2:22.35; Dominique Daluz of Silver Spring was the highest-finishing Maryland man, at 2:32:42. Gillian Horovitz of New York was 17th among the women in 2:48.17.

About 27,000 people ran, but the real race began at about 20 miles, on the Bronx side of the Willets Avenue Bridge, when the rabbits fell back.

There were 12 in the pack, a lot for late in a major race. Now they were in Central Park, tired people running into a headwind. One by one, contenders fell back until only five remained. At Mile 24, Silva, Evans and Koech pulled away, and there were three. At Mile 25, Silva spurted, Evans followed and Koech slipped back, and there were two.

Now they were onto Central Park South. Silva stepped it up, and Evans responded. Silva did it again, and Evans responded again. With a half-mile to go, Silva turned, saw Evans struggling and drew clear for a third time. Evans could not respond.

"He was doing that obviously on purpose," said Evans in admiration rather than anger. "He was testing me out. I always felt in the whole race, he was calling the shots. He looked so relaxed."

The race was not quite over. Last year, Silva took the wrong road in re-entering the park from Central Park South, and had to double back after being redirected by a policeman.

This time, as Silva approached that road, he knew where to go. Besides, two motorcycle policemen blocked the wrong road.

"I saw them," Silva said. "When I got there, I remembered."

He ran straight past the wrong entrance, looked over his shoulder and smiled slightly. Not this time. He turned into the park where he should have, ran the final four-tenths of a mile, broke the tape, clapped his hands and sipped from a bottle of water.

He looked as fresh as the winner he was, but he said he was also sad. His father, his biggest supporter, died in July . "I was running for my father," he said. "He was in my mind. He is with me everywhere."

He added: "It is something I have in common with Tegla. We feel together."

Men: 1. German Silva, Mexico, 2 hours, 11 minutes, 0 seconds; 2. Paul Evans, Britain, 2:11:05; 3. William Koech, Kenya, 2:11:19; 4. Simon Lopuyet, Kenya, 2:11:38; 5. John Kagwe, Kenya, 2:11:42; 6. Isaac Garcia, Mexico, 2:11:43; 7. Joaquim Pinheiro, Portugal, 2:12:19; 8. Thabisio Moghali, South Africa, 2:12:32; 9. Manuel Matias, Portugal, 2:12:49; 10. Salvador Garcia, Mexico, 2:12:57.

Women: 1. Tegla Loroupe, Kenya, 2:28:06; 2. Manuela Machado, Portugal, 2:30:37; 3. Lieve Slegers, Belgium, 2:32:08; 4. Joyce Chepchumba, Kenya, 2:33:51; 5. Griselda Gonzalez, Spain, 2:34:54; 6. Claudia Lokar, Germany, 2:36:16; 7. Roseli Machado, Brazil, 2:36:18; 8. Lidia Simon, Romania, 2:37:39; 9. Madina Biktagirova, Belarus, 2:37:46; 10. Flor Venegas, Chile, 2:39:33.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.