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2008 Olympic Games Beijing - Women's Marathon

 

 

Host City: Beijing, China Format: 42,195 metres (26 miles, 385 yards) point-to-point
Date Started: August 17, 2008  
Date Finished: August 17, 2008  
(Competitors: 82; Countries: 49)  
    Venue(s): Beijing National Stadium, Beijing
Overview by IAAF    2008_olympic_stadium.jpg
Nervous of the heat, the runners took the first half slowly. With the temperature warm (22°C) but not stifling, the pace was unsurprisingly cautious. At 10 miles the early leader Liz Yelling (GBR) collided with Gete Wami (ETH) near a drink station and crack a rib. Halfway was passed in 75:11, and by that point Tomescu-Dita had taken the lead. The Romanian had moved clear in two world championships, only to fade badly, and this was thought by watchers to be an insignificant break. In the the meantime Athens medallist Deena Kastor (USA) sustained a broken foot at 5K while world record holder Paula Radcliffe (GBR) was struggling to return from a stress fracture and would end up 23rd. By 35Km (2:02:00) Tomescu-Dita was 70 seconds clear of a pack of eight runners, and there would be no catching the Romanian. At 40Km (2:19:07) she was a minute clear of Zhou and Zhu, with Ndereba and Komu another second behind. The chasers were closing quickly, with Ndereba running the last 2.195Km 39 seconds quicker than the Romanian. No wonder Tomescu-Dita constantly looked over her shoulder, but she retained 22 seconds of her margin to the finish. “I have been caught so often that it was only in the last 200m of the race that I was certain I would win,” she reflected. Ndereba outsprinted Zhou for the silver in the last 100m.
       
Summary by Sports-reference.com      
The women’s marathon began at 7:30 in the morning but the temperature was still 23° C. (75° F.) with 73% humidity at the start. The contenders went out very slowly, concerned about the weather, and the pack stayed together for the first hour. The halfway mark was finished in 1-15:11, when Romania’s Constantina Dita decided to push the pace. The pace seemed fast and the other favorites, notably Kenyan Catherine Ndereba, did not go with her. By 35K she had opened a 70-second lead. Britain’s Paula Radcliffe, the world-record holder, had gamely hung on early, but injuries had her well below her best and she barely finished, placing 23rd. In the last few kilometers, the chase group closed somewhat on Dita, but she was never in any trouble, winning by 22 seconds over Ndereba, to become the oldest Olympic marathon champion ever, man or woman. Chinese runners Zhou Chunxiu and Zhu Xiaolin closed quickly to finish 3-4.
 

Records

Prior to this event, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows:

World record  Paula Radcliffe (GBR) 2:15:25 London, United Kingdom 13 April 2003
Olympic record  Naoko Takahashi (JPN) 2:23:14 Sydney, Australia 24 September 2000
 
        Results        

The women's marathon at the 2008 Summer Olympics took place on August 17 around an urban circuit specifically designed for the competition at Beijing, and finished in the Beijing National Stadium. The qualifying standards were 2:37.00 (A standard) and 2:42.00 (B standard). There were a total number of 82 competitors from 42 nations.

The winner was Constantina Diṭă-Tomescu of Romania who at one point took a lead of over a minute and maintained it ahead of the chasing pack all the way into the stadium. She completed the marathon in a time of 2:26:44. In second place was Catherine Ndereba of Kenya who completed the race in 2:27:06, closely followed by bronze medalist Zhou Chunxiu of China who finished in a time of 2:27:07.

World record holder Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain took part in the race despite injury problems that bothered her throughout the previous year. However, she did not feature for much of the race and had to pause and do some exercises to rid herself of cramps at one point. She then proceeded to finish the marathon in 23rd place in a time of 2:32:38.

Women's Marathon

Constantina Tomescu Dita took a big gamble. And it paid off.

Breaking from a large pack just before the mid way point, the 38-year-old Romanian forged off on her own to claim a dominating victory in the seventh women’s Olympic Marathon.

In her third marathon of the year – she was 8th in London and 9th in Osaka – Dita reached the finish in 2:26:44 to become the oldest Olympic champion in the event.

“It was a great performance,” said Dita, who was a distant 20th in Athens four years ago. “Going into the second half, I thought I could do it.”

Her 22-second margin of victory is an impressive enough achievement, but does not adequately illustrate the determined solo effort she produced to claim the first global honour of her largely successful career.

At 15 kilometres (53:52), 33 women were within a second of leaders Souad Ait Salem of Algeria and Britons Paula Radcliffe and Liz Yelling, with no one showing any inclination to make a significant move. With the lead pack still numbering about a dozen, Dita moved up to the front in the 68th minute, but not yet making her break. That decisive move came at one hour, 13 minutes into the race, just before reaching the halfway point in 1:15:11, where she quickly created a four-second lead on the pursuers.

For the next 20 kilometres, she would go on a solo tour of central Beijing that she’ll never forget. At 25 kilometres (1:28:16) her lead grew to 24 seconds, to 57 seconds at 30 kilometres (1:45:04), and to a massive one minute, 10 seconds at 35 kilometres (2:02:00).

By then, the chase pack, now down to just seven, had apparently decided that the only race remaining would be for the remaining two medals. Those were apparently going to be decided by defending champion Catherine Ndereba, her Kenyan compatriot Martha Komu, Chinese Zhou Chunxiu and Zhu Xiaolin, Briton Mara Yamauchi, Russian Irina Timofeeva, and Romanian Lidia Simon, the silver medallist in Sydney eight years ago.

Looking strongest was two-time World champion Ndereba, who in typical fashion whiled away her time in the early going at the back of the chase pack. Zhou, also a sub-2:20 marathoner, appeared comfortable as well and may have carried a slight edge in the waning stages, anticipating the reception that would greet here when reaching the boisterous crowd of more than 50,000 that filled the Bird’s Nest.

But it was of course Dita who would enter first. At 40 kilometres (2:19.07) and with the stadium in full view, she still carried a 60 lsecond? lead. While visibly slowing as she made her way through the entrance tunnel, she was quickly revived by the crowd’s roar, and happily waved back several times as she made her final lap.

“I was pushing very hard and wanted my gold medal,” she said. “I was looking back the whole time.”

Meanwhile the battle for the remaining medals came down to two Kenyans and two Chinese. Ndereba was next to enter, with Zhou just a step behind, seemingly at the ready to strike. With the crowd’s rapturous support, she moved ahead of the Kenyan with just over 200 metres remaining, but Ndereba didn’t give in. Virtually stride-for-stride as they approached the final straight, the Kenyan produced a homestretch dash that would do a middle distance star proud to clinch her second consecutive silver medal, one second ahead of Zhou in 2:27:06.

“I came here to compete and I’m glad that I have done my best,” said Zhou, whose pre-Beijing training was laced with several injury-related disruptions. “However I’m not satisfied with my time.”

Zhu, who passed a fading Komu (2:27:23) soon after entering the stadium was fourth in 2:27:16. A Briton was the sixth runner to enter the stadium and cross the line, but it wasn’t world record holder Paula Radcliffe. Rather it was Japan-based Yamauchi, who clocked 2:27:29.

Radcliffe, whose dramatic withdrawal in Athens four years ago has defined much of her recent career, may have been a sentimental favourite, but in reality was always a long shot after a stress fracture curtailed her training three months ago. After running with the lead pack through the half, she began to lag with a calf pain and by 35 kilometres was some 40 seconds behind the main chase pack. Two hours, 14 minutes into the race she paused briefly to stretch her sore calf, but it didn’t help much.

“It was really sore,” said Radcliffe, who eventually finished 23rd in 2:32:38. “I felt like I was running on one leg.”

It didn’t take long for the race to claim its first major casualty. Before reaching the five kilometre point near the Temple of Heaven, defending bronze medallist Deena Kastor slowed to a walk before pulling out with a foot injury. “I felt a pop in my foot,” said Kastor, the fourth fastest marathoner in history. “I couldn’t stand it. I didn’t expect to be finishing the marathon in a bus.”

In all 13 didn’t finish, with Ethiopia taking a particularly hard hit. Both Berhane Adere and Gete Wami didn’t reach the 35 kilometre check point. The misfortunes of Japan, already rocked by the withdrawal of defending champion Mizuki Noguchi, continued with Reiko Tosa, who ran much of the race in visible pain until finally dropping out just after 25 kilometres.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF

Tomescu Dita's gamble pays off - Women's Marathon report

 

Constantina Tomescu Dita took a big gamble. And it paid off.

Breaking from a large pack just before the mid way point, the 38-year-old Romanian forged off on her own to claim a dominating victory in the seventh women’s Olympic Marathon.

In her third marathon of the year – she was 8th in London and 9th in Osaka – Dita reached the finish in 2:26:44 to become the oldest Olympic champion in the event.

“It was a great performance,” said Dita, who was a distant 20th in Athens four years ago. “Going into the second half, I thought I could do it.”

Her 22-second margin of victory is an impressive enough achievement, but does not adequately illustrate the determined solo effort she produced to claim the first global honour of her largely successful career.

At 15 kilometres (53:52), 33 women were within a second of leaders Souad Ait Salem of Algeria and Britons Paula Radcliffe and Liz Yelling, with no one showing any inclination to make a significant move. With the lead pack still numbering about a dozen, Dita moved up to the front in the 68th minute, but not yet making her break. That decisive move came at one hour, 13 minutes into the race, just before reaching the halfway point in 1:15:11, where she quickly created a four-second lead on the pursuers.

For the next 20 kilometres, she would go on a solo tour of central Beijing that she’ll never forget. At 25 kilometres (1:28:16) her lead grew to 24 seconds, to 57 seconds at 30 kilometres (1:45:04), and to a massive one minute, 10 seconds at 35 kilometres (2:02:00).

By then, the chase pack, now down to just seven, had apparently decided that the only race remaining would be for the remaining two medals. Those were apparently going to be decided by defending champion Catherine Ndereba, her Kenyan compatriot Martha Komu, Chinese Zhou Chunxiu and Zhu Xiaolin, Briton Mara Yamauchi, Russian Irina Timofeeva, and Romanian Lidia Simon, the silver medallist in Sydney eight years ago.

Looking strongest was two-time World champion Ndereba, who in typical fashion whiled away her time in the early going at the back of the chase pack. Zhou, also a sub-2:20 marathoner, appeared comfortable as well and may have carried a slight edge in the waning stages, anticipating the reception that would greet here when reaching the boisterous crowd of more than 50,000 that filled the Bird’s Nest.

But it was of course Dita who would enter first. At 40 kilometres (2:19.07) and with the stadium in full view, she still carried a 60 lsecond? lead. While visibly slowing as she made her way through the entrance tunnel, she was quickly revived by the crowd’s roar, and happily waved back several times as she made her final lap.

“I was pushing very hard and wanted my gold medal,” she said. “I was looking back the whole time.”

Meanwhile the battle for the remaining medals came down to two Kenyans and two Chinese. Ndereba was next to enter, with Zhou just a step behind, seemingly at the ready to strike. With the crowd’s rapturous support, she moved ahead of the Kenyan with just over 200 metres remaining, but Ndereba didn’t give in. Virtually stride-for-stride as they approached the final straight, the Kenyan produced a homestretch dash that would do a middle distance star proud to clinch her second consecutive silver medal, one second ahead of Zhou in 2:27:06.

“I came here to compete and I’m glad that I have done my best,” said Zhou, whose pre-Beijing training was laced with several injury-related disruptions. “However I’m not satisfied with my time.”

Zhu, who passed a fading Komu (2:27:23) soon after entering the stadium was fourth in 2:27:16. A Briton was the sixth runner to enter the stadium and cross the line, but it wasn’t world record holder Paula Radcliffe. Rather it was Japan-based Yamauchi, who clocked 2:27:29.

Radcliffe, whose dramatic withdrawal in Athens four years ago has defined much of her recent career, may have been a sentimental favourite, but in reality was always a long shot after a stress fracture curtailed her training three months ago. After running with the lead pack through the half, she began to lag with a calf pain and by 35 kilometres was some 40 seconds behind the main chase pack. Two hours, 14 minutes into the race she paused briefly to stretch her sore calf, but it didn’t help much.

“It was really sore,” said Radcliffe, who eventually finished 23rd in 2:32:38. “I felt like I was running on one leg.”

It didn’t take long for the race to claim its first major casualty. Before reaching the five kilometre point near the Temple of Heaven, defending bronze medallist Deena Kastor slowed to a walk before pulling out with a foot injury. “I felt a pop in my foot,” said Kastor, the fourth fastest marathoner in history. “I couldn’t stand it. I didn’t expect to be finishing the marathon in a bus.”

In all 13 didn’t finish, with Ethiopia taking a particularly hard hit. Both Berhane Adere and Gete Wami didn’t reach the 35 kilometre check point. The misfortunes of Japan, already rocked by the withdrawal of defending champion Mizuki Noguchi, continued with Reiko Tosa, who ran much of the race in visible pain until finally dropping out just after 25 kilometres.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF

Marathon Women     Final 17 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 2.26.44     Constantina Dita Romania ROU 23 Jan 70  
2 2.27.06     Catherine Ndereba Kenya KEN 21 Jul 72  
3 2.27.07     Zhou Chunxiu China CHN 15 Nov 78  
4 2.27.16     Zhu Xiaolin China CHN 20 Feb 84  
5 2.27.23     Martha Komu Kenya KEN 23 Mar 83  
6 2.27.29     Mara Yamauchi Great Britain GBR 13 Aug 73  
7 2.27.31     Irina Timofeyeva Russia RUS 5 Apr 70  
8 2.27.51     Lidia Simon Romania ROU 4 Sep 73  
9 2.28.29     Souad Aït Salem Algeria ALG 6 Jan 79  
10 2.29.28     Salina Kosgei Kenya KEN 16 Nov 76  
11 2.29.33     Živilė Balčiūnaitė Lithuania LTU 3 Apr 79  
12 2.30.01     Kim Kum Ok North Korea PRK 9 Dec 85  
13 2.30.19     Yurika Nakamura Japan JPN 1 Apr 86  
14 2.30.55     Anna Incerti Italy ITA 19 Jan 80  
15 2.31.16     Dire Tune Ethiopia ETH 19 May 85  
16 2.31.16     Nina Rillstone New Zealand NZL 15 Apr 75  
17 2.31.31     Bruna Genovese Italy ITA 24 Sep 76  
18 2.31.41     Luminita Talpoş Romania ROU 9 Oct 72  
19 2.31.47     Madaí Pérez Mexico MEX 2 Feb 80  
20 2.31.48     Christelle Daunay France FRA 5 Dec 74  
21 2.32.06     Benita Willis Australia AUS 6 May 79  
22 2.32.16     Svetlana Zakharova Russia RUS 11 Apr 70  
23 2.32.38     Paula Radcliffe Great Britain GBR 17 Dec 73  
24 2.32.39     Monika Stefanowicz Poland POL 15 May 80  
25 2.33.07     Lee Eun-Jung South Korea KOR 21 Apr 81  
26 2.33.12     Liz Yelling Great Britain GBR 5 Dec 74  
27 2.33.13     Blake Russell United States USA 24 Jul 75  
28 2.33.29     Beata Naigambo Namibia NAM 11 Mar 80  
29 2.33.31     Vincenza Sicari Italy ITA 19 Mar 79  
30 2.33.32     Dorota Gruca Poland POL 5 Dec 70  
31 2.33.35     Tetyana Zahriichuk Ukraine UKR 5 Apr 84  
32 2.34.08     Marisa Barros Portugal POR 25 Feb 80  
33 2.34.16     Lisa Weightman Australia AUS 16 Jan 79  
34 2.34.35     Kirsten Marathon Melkevik Norway NOR 29 May 70  
35 2.34.51     Liza Hunter-Galvan New Zealand NZL 25 Jun 69  
36 2.34.52     Jong Yong Ok North Korea PRK 24 Jan 81  
37 2.35.09     Rasa Drazdauskaitė Lithuania LTU 20 Mar 81  
38 2.35.17     Melanie Kraus Germany GER 24 Oct 74  
39 2.35.19     María Portillo Peru PER 10 Apr 72 NR
40 2.35.22     Helaria Johannes Namibia NAM 13 Aug 80  
41 2.35.35     Zhang Shujing China CHN 13 Sep 78  
42 2.35.47     Luciah Kimani Bosnia and Herzegovina BIH 21 Jun 80 NR
43 2.35.53     Sandra Ruales Ecuador ECU 30 May 74  
44 2.36.10     Kate Smyth Australia AUS 22 Sep 72  
45 2.36.25     Yesenia Centeno Spain ESP 27 Jun 71  
46 2.36.25     Ana Dias Portugal POR 15 Jan 74  
47 2.37.03     Nebiat Habtemariam Eritrea ERI 29 Dec 78  
48 2.37.04     Jo Pun Hui North Korea PRK 29 Nov 79  
49 2.37.10     Thabita Tsatsa Zimbabwe ZIM 18 Sep 72  
50 2.37.12     Bahar Doğan Turkey TUR 2 Sep 74  
51 2.38.10     Marily dos Santos Brazil BRA 5 Feb 78  
52 2.38.31     Susanne Hahn Germany GER 23 Apr 78  
53 2.38.52     Chae Eun-Hee South Korea KOR 20 Jul 82  
54 2.39.29     Alessandra Aguilar Spain ESP 1 Jul 78  
55 2.39.34     Paty Rétiz Mexico MEX 17 Mar 71  
56 2.43.23     Lee Sun-Young South Korea KOR 20 Aug 84  
57 2.44.24     Eva-Maria Gradwohl Austria AUT 29 Mar 73  
58 2.44.41     Julia Andreyeva Kyrgyzstan KGZ 7 Mar 84  
59 2.45.53     Sonia Calizaya Bolivia BOL 20 Feb 76  
60 2.46.44     Eléni Dónta Greece GRE 17 Jun 80  
61 2.47.02     Karina Pérez Mexico MEX 4 Oct 82  
62 2.47.02     Bertha Sánchez Colombia COL 4 Nov 78  
63 2.47.16     Pauline Curley Ireland IRL 10 Mar 69  
64 2.48.01     María José Pueyo Spain ESP 16 Mar 70  
65 2.48.32     Petra Teveli Hungary HUN 1 Nov 79  
66 2.49.32     Epiphanie Nyirabarame Rwanda RWA 15 Dec 81  
67 2.49.39     Zuzana Tomas Slovakia SVK 18 Feb 76  
68 2.53.45     Gabriela Traña Costa Rica CRC 3 Mar 80  
69 2.55.39     Oksana Sklyarenko Ukraine UKR 4 May 81  
  DNF     Berhane Adere Ethiopia ETH 21 Jul 73  
  DNF     Gete Wami Ethiopia ETH 11 Dec 74  
  DNF     Inês Monteiro Portugal POR 18 May 80  
  DNF     Valentina Delion Moldova MDA 30 Oct 73  
  DNF     Reiko Tosa Japan JPN 11 Jun 76  
  DNF     Olivera Jevtić Serbia SRB 24 Jul 77  
  DNF     Galina Bogomolova Russia RUS 15 Oct 77  
  DNF     Mariana Dias Ximes Timor-Leste TLS 13 Dec 83  
  DNF     Beáta Rakonczai Hungary HUN 25 Jun 77  
  DNF     Mamarola Tjoka Lesotho LES 25 Oct 84  
  DNF     Magdalena Lewy Boulet United States USA 1 Aug 73  
  DNF     Deena Kastor United States USA 14 Feb 73  

 

 

 

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