Marathon: Ahhhhhhhhhh!

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Outside magazine, July 1994

Marathon: Ahhhhhhhhhh!
By Todd Balf (with Derek Rielly)

“We were screaming,” said American Bob Kempainen in the aftermath of April’s Boston Marathon, where perfect weather conditions helped 11 runners crack the vaunted 2:10 mark–the most in marathon history. Especially screaming was defending champion Cosmas Ndeti of Kenya, who held off a late challenge by Mexican Andres Espinosa and set a course record in 2:07:15. Uta Pippig, a
28-year-old medical student from Berlin, rose from a sickbed (she had the flu) to win the women’s race in 2:21:45, almost a minute better than Joan Benoit Samuelson’s 1983 time. Then there was Kempainen, who clocked 2:08:52, five seconds faster than Alberto Salazar’s mark for the fastest marathon run by an American. Noted Kempainen, “I can’t believe I ran this fast and only
finished seventh.” The pace began slow, with the lead runners holding back until halfway into the race. Then Ndeti exploded on the race’s second and more difficult half, running it almost three minutes faster than the first. Amazingly, Espinosa, a former steelworker, stayed with him as they turned onto Boylston Street for the final half-mile sprint. Ndeti held on for the victory,
but both men won $25,000 bonuses for busting Rob de Castella’s 2:07:51 mark.

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