Antonenko, Burangulova 1st home

Ukrainian surges to win men's marathon in festival in 2:15:40

Russian takes women's race in 2:42:00



A man from Ukraine and a Russian woman used their local knowledge to claim the marathon titles in the fifth annual Under Armour Baltimore Running Festival.

Mykola Antonenko, 33, jogged through a mediocre half-marathon here a year ago, but made a mental note about a hilly stretch in the northeast section of the city. That's where he began a prolonged surge yesterday morning in the marathon that separated him from a lead pack of eight. He finished in 2 hours, 15 minutes, 40 seconds, and ended Kenya's grip on the men's title.

Russian women made it five straight, as Ramilia Burangulova repeated in 2:42:00, 100 seconds slower than she went last year on a slightly different 26.2-mile course. Sensing she needed to push matters near the midway point at the Inner Harbor, Burangulova, 44, shook off two countrywomen and departed Baltimore with another $15,000 first-place prize.

She has lived in Florida since 2001, and the sun-worshipers there would have enjoyed basking here after a week of cloud cover lifted. The wind made it perfect for sailing on the Chesapeake Bay, but the mid-day temperature that neared 80 degrees was a danger to all but the fittest. At least 15 were transported to local emergency rooms.

More than 3,000 registered, and 2,390 finished the marathon. A record number of participants, approximately 11,000, registered for the festival.

Antonenko, Burangulova and the other professionals in town for the festival's $100,000 purse were among a 40-person party that reserved a room at Phillip's Restaurant Friday night.

Carbo-loaders, take note: two who didn't finish yesterday ordered the chicken pasta. The winners went with the seafood pasta. Andrey Baranov, a talent agent who translated for both, said Antonenko was nodding off when they were seated.

Antonenko lives in Donyetsk, the same town that sent Sergey Bubka to pole vault fame. It's an eight-hour time difference from Baltimore, and jet lag had Antonenko asking to go to bed early the night before the race. When did those Friday complaints begin?

"Lunchtime," Baranov said.

Antonenko was rested and ready when the lead pack, which included two other Eastern Europeans and five Africans, entered a deciding stretch near Patterson Park.

Kenyan Ronald Mogaka, who would eventually drop out, lost touch in the 16th mile as they turned north onto Linwood Avenue. Ethiopia's Zintu Maeza and Kenya's Peter Omae, listed as Peter Ayiemi in the results, lost touch in mile 17. Russian Mikhail Khobotov fell back on Madison Street, and Lithuanian Olympian Mindaugas Pukstas and Kenyan Joseph Mutinda were broken heading north on Washington Avenue.

From North Avenue to the mile 19 marker, no more than a third of a mile, Antonenko padded his lead from nine seconds to 17. He crushed the out-and-back mile on Hillen Road, when his cushion grew from 25 to 43 seconds. From mile 16 to mile 22, when the course climbed some 200 feet in elevation, Antonenko averaged 5:11 miles, using strength he acquired the past few months while training in the mountains near Kislovodsk in Russia.

"Chicago, you need speed; Baltimore, you need strength," Baranov echoed Antonenko. "He remembered the course from last year, and didn't want to run the last three miles with the pack."

It was Antonenko's first marathon win in the U.S. after runner-up finishes in the 2004 Twin Cities and Las Vegas races this year.

Khobotov came back on Pukstas and Matinda to claim the $5,000 second-place prize.

Ilona Barvanova, a Ukrainian who lives in West Chester, Pa., used a similar strategy to grab second in the women's race, though she wasn't among the all-Russian lead group of three.

Through 12 miles, through Fort McHenry and onto Key Highway, Marina Bychkova and three-time Baltimore champion Elvira Kolpakova stuck with Burangulova. At the midway point near Harborplace's Light Street Pavilion, her lead was five seconds. Over the next three miles, it grew to 33, and she finished with more than a two-minute spread on Barvanova.

"The pace of the first half of her race was too slow," Baranov said. "She used her knowledge of the course."

Among other changes, Hillen Road replaced Lake Montebello, a rolling addition that made Burangulova feel as if she were revisiting the torn Achilles' tendon that threatened her career in 1996. She told Baranov that she "was in a lot of pain the last six miles."

Antonenko was the first person to embrace Burangulova after her fifth marathon title in the past two years.

Burangulova makes her home in Gainesville, Fla. She has a 19-year-old son who studies architecture at the University of Florida, and an application for U.S. citizenship is in the INS pipeline.

Takoma Park resident Craig Arnold, 46, led the masters, and all of Maryland, with an eighth-place finish in 2:31:20. Pamela Maldeis, 23, who ran for Liberty High and got a mathematics degree from Virginia Tech, was the first woman from the state, sixth in 2:55:16.

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.