Monday, December 9, 2002
[ HONOLULU MARATHON ]
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Svetlana Zakharova was the first woman to finish the Honolulu Marathon, in 2:29:08.
Hussein sprintsJimmy Muindi did all the work, but Mbarak Hussein took home the money.
He wins his third Honolulu Marathon
by 4 seconds over his good friend
By Jerry Campany
Hussein won his third Honolulu Marathon yesterday, outkicking rival Jimmy Muindi in a sprint to the finish to win by four seconds and pick up $20,000, including incentives. Both had come into the race winning twice, so this was the rubber match between the rivals turned friends.
"He is a great friend of mine," Hussein said. "I wish both of us can win. Maybe some day we will tie."
Hussein, who won the Seoul Marathon just over a month ago, finished in 2:12:29, 46 seconds behind his brother's Honolulu record set in 1986.
Muindi, who had won the marathon in 1999 and 2000, set the pace throughout the race, running at the front of the pack all the way into a strong wind and keeping it after making the turn. He led a pack of seven runners out of Hawaii Kai until only Hussein, Ondoro Osoro of Kenya and Francis Robert Naali of Tanzania could keep up with him on the highway.
"I wanted to push the pace," Muindi said. "I knew it would be hard for us to break apart, wanted to see if at least we could go for one of the records. They kind of surprised me, the guys were strong and stayed with me."
But when they got to the foot of Diamond Head, Hussein and Muindi were alone to settle things themselves. The taller Muindi ran upright, as he had the entire race, even into the wind, while Hussein ran with his head down and stayed on Muindi's shoulder. Muindi tried to drop him twice before the climb, but learned that the 26.2-mile trial would come down to a frantic sprint that he would not be able to win.
"Mbarak knows me," Muindi said. "Our pace is almost similar, I knew it would come down to the best kick."
Hussein was content to stay with Muindi until the final sprint because he doesn't like running downhill and had a sprinter's experience on his side. Hussein was an 800-meter runner in college.
So, with both runners nine seconds off the record pace despite the wind, Hussein decided that he had enough of an advantage to decide the race in the final 150 meters, especially since Muindi had been battling the wind the entire way while Hussein conserved his energy in the middle of the pack.
"Some people are comfortable in the front and some in the back," Hussein said. "Jimmy is comfortable in the front. I tried, I like to help, but he wasn't letting me."
The races for the kamaaina and resident titles were not nearly as close.
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Mbarak Hussein was the first finisher in yesterday's Honolulu Marathon, in 2:12:29, 46 seconds slower than the record.
Jonathan Lyau of Honolulu, who brings as much marathon experience as any of the elite runners, won his 10th straight kamaaina award in his 20th Honolulu Marathon. He was the first Hawaii finisher -- Kamaaina or resident -- when he caught former Hawaii Pacific standout Christian Friis at the foot of Diamond Head.
It was one of Lyau's better performances in his hometown marathon, but it was also one of his toughest. Lyau ran through blisters he hasn't felt in years and still was able to reel in Friis to keep his streak alive.
"It means a lot, I kept the streak going," Lyau said. "It was one of my better Honolulus. I saw Christian and got him at Diamond Head, when he started looking back I knew I had him. I went out harder than normal."
Lyau finished 23rd overall in 2:36.56, two minutes faster than Friis, who was the second resident to finish. Chris Larson of HPU was third.
Among the elite runners, Osoro, continuing his comeback after being shot in the neck in a carjacking in the summer of 2000, was third in 2:15:23. He was followed by David Mutua of Kenya in 2:17:28, and Naali in 2:18:47.
Rounding out the top 10 were Bernard Kangogo, Kenya, 2:24:31; Belay Welasha, Ethiopia, 2:28:42; Yuji Watanabe, Japan, 2:29:11; Masakazu Noda, Japan, 2:30:48; and Keiji Negishi, Japan, 2:32:15.
When the wind took away any chance for Russia's Svetlana Zakharova to meet her goal of breaking the women's record, all that was left was to win the race.
Zakharova, who won the race in 1997 but finished second five other times, was not going to settle for second best this time. Hellen Kimutai of Kenya and Albina Ivanova of Russia set the pace early, with Ivanova leading by a full 30 seconds 23 miles into the race. Ivanova, 25, gained confidence with each step in the front, but knew that if Zakharova could erase that gap, the race would be over.
"I knew Svetlana is experienced, so I wanted to get as much distance between me and her," Ivanova said. "The farther I went with the lead, the more confident I was getting. But when she caught me, my main objective was to make the finish line."
Ivanova and Zakharova can talk about experience all they want, but Zakharova's second title, worth $25,000 with incentives, was more a matter of desire, of not wanting to answer questions about coming up short for the sixth time.
"I stayed back and ran my own race," Zakharova said through an interpreter. "But at a certain point I thought, man, I will be in second again, and there is no way. So I got more energy."
Zakharova wanted the record, set by Lyubov Morgunova in 2000, but fell short by 35 seconds. There is always next year for the woman who has become the Honolulu Marathon's favorite in recent years.
"You can't blame the winner," Zakharova said. "I wanted to make some kind of nice surprise and get the course record, but the wind made that impossible. I will be back, though. Absolutely."
Cynthia Schnack, 39, won her ninth kamaaina title with a little help from her sister Caroline, who usually is Schnack's only competition but did not run this year. It doesn't matter though, because the women's kamaaina award is a family thing.
"Everyone mixes us up anyway," Cynthia Schnack said about her twin sister. "Either way she's always out there supporting me. She is not competition, she is an inspiration."
She inspired Schnack to the title, allowing her to run the course in 2:57 flat. Although she was not physically on the course, Caroline's words were.
"My sister, she gave me a break this year," Schnack said. "She was my coach this year and told me 'when the going gets tough, put your head down and go.' I had never tried that before."
Although Schnack won the kamaaina award, she was not the first resident to finish. That distinction goes to former Hawaii Pacific cross country runner Sayuri Kusutani.
Kusutani finished 12th overall in 2:48.07 and had her own motivation for finishing in less than three hours.
"I had to hurry home to finish a paper," Kusutani said. "I had no idea about this race, I just knew I had a hard paper to write for school."
Kusutani and Schnack finished 12th and 13th overall and won tickets to the marathon of their choice.
Among the elite women, Alevtina Ivanova of Russia was third in 2:31:12, followed by Eri Hayakawa of Japan in 2:32:42 and Irina Bogacheva of Kyrgyzstan in 2:33:35.
Others among the top 10 women were Chihiro Tanaka of Japan in sixth, Kimutai in seventh, Franca Fiacconi of Italy in eighth, Silviya Skvortsova of Russia in ninth and Tatiana Khmeleva, also of Russia, in 10th.
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