Sunday, November 2, 2008

Paula Radcliffe Blows Away Field to Win 2008 New York Marathon

Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain has won the 2008 New York City Marathon, capturing the title for the third time. Radcliffe led the race from the starting gun and finished with a time of 2:23:56.

New York native Kara Goucher, running in her first marathon, finished in third place. Ludmilla Petrova of Russia finished second and was close to the Briton for much of the race, but Radcliffe opened up distance from Petrova with a 5:12 mile late in the race.

Radcliffe made her intention to win clear from the start, taking the lead at the very beginning and staying at the front of the pack the entire race. Goucher, who is originally from Queens, had dropped out of the lead pack of five runners and appeared to be in trouble, but two other elite runners in that pack fell away, and Goucher found herself in third place, although more than six seconds behind Radcliffe's pace.

Goucher competed for the U.S. in the 2008 Olympics in both the 10,000 and 5,000 meters. She was born in New York but moved to Minnesota when she was four years old. Her father died in a car accident in New York, and the city has always been special to her. Kara Goucher didn't medal in either of her Olympic races in Beijing, so being on the medal stand in New York is certainly redemption for her, and a special personal moment for her as well.

Kara Goucher has a winning connection to New York as well: her coach is Alberto Salazar, a three-time winner of the New York Marathon.

The New York Daily News had a nice story on Kara Goucher's New York homecoming.

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