A Not-So-Sweet Threepeat

Outside magazine, July 1996


A Not-So-Sweet Threepeat


"What do athletes do when nature calls," probed USA Today a week after Uta Pippig's dramatic victory at the 100th Boston Marathon last April, her third-straight triumph. The reference, of course, was to Pippig's embarrassing predicament: She spent the entire 26.2 miles plagued by menstrual bleeding, diarrhea, and a live camera feed. Thankfully, not everyone fixated on the banal after what was one of the most improbable come-from-behind finishes in race history. Near the 25-mile mark, local TV coverage went to commercial break declaring Tegla Loroupe the winner, part of a Kenyan sweep that included Moses Tanui besting countrymen Ezekiel Bitok and Cosmas Ndeti. But when the cameras returned, Pippig was in front, sporting a euphoric, utterly disbelieving grin. "I thought I could not catch Tegla," said Pippig, who erased a 220-meter gap on the downhill side of Heartbreak Hill. "But the crowd kept screaming, 'You can catch her.' I just started fighting." Pippig finished in 2:27:12, and though she then checked into a hospital to recover from severe dehydration, she said her plans still include the Olympics.

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