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The 1999 Boston Marathon

April 19, 1999

The runners of the 103rd Boston Marathon found themselves competing on a deceptive day on a deceptive course. The lure of the downhills in the early miles can destroy the best race strategies, but this year a second demon lurked in the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston.


Not the obvious, scorching, oppressive kind, but an insidious, subtle warmth which drained the race of some of it's legendary competitors. If it's great weather for watching, it's too hot for running. As all those runners with sunburned right shoulders can attest, it was a great day to watch.

At The Expo

The legends come to Boston for race weekend, and many familiar faces were seen at the Race Expo. Alberto Salazar put in a rare appearance, signing autographs and talking with runners on Saturday.

Alberto knows about pushing in hot weather. When he was asked if he had recovered from his near death effort at the Falmouth road race years ago, he said, " I don't think I'll ever recover."

Moses Tanui radiated confidence during an appearance at the Fila booth. Tanui was the winner of the 100th running of the Boston Marathon as well as last year when he ran 2:07:34. He entered this year's race as the favorite.
Joan Benoit Samuelson charmed fans at the Race Expo. The 1984 Olympic Marathon Gold Medalist and two-time Boston Marathon champion continues to run well.  

So well in fact that she has come close to beating Bill Rodgers in shorter races. When asked if she will edge Bill in a race soon, she just smiled.

Khalid Khannouchi, America's hope in the marathon (as soon as he becomes a citizen) will not tackle Boston until 2001. He was committed to the London Marathon this spring, and next year the Olympics take priority.

Jen Rhines, a top US 10,000 meter runner, appeared at the Adidas booth.


What's in a word?

Key words grace Colleen DeRueck's water bottle at the 10K elite runner's water table.

Colleen's commitment to the sport is unsurpassed, and her appreciation of her position is a rare thing indeed.

The View From the 10K Mark
Franz Nietlispach of Zeiningen, Switzerland steamrolled the competition to win his third straight Boston title, his fourth overall. Nietlispach finished in 1:21:36, 13 seconds shy of the course record.

That's an average speed of 19.4 mph...without changing gears.

Louise Sauvage
of Australia and American Jean Driscoll have come to know each other very well. For the second consecutive year they raced wheel to wheel, finishing mere milliseconds apart. Sauvage won her third in a row at Boston, defeating Driscoll who was gunning for her eighth Boston victory. They were both timed in 1:41:19, which is 3:52 per mile pace.

At 10K they were in the order of finish,
Sauvage, Driscoll and Edith Hunkeler of Switzerland.


The Lead Pack

Here we have the leaders just past the 10K mark at Framingham.
They went through in 31:25 (5:04 pace), well off Simon Karori's 1992 record split of 28:43.
 Of the dozen runners in this picture, only four would finish in the top fifteen.

From left to right:

#12 Isaac Garcia, (MEX) fin. 16th-2:18:14
#35 Kenneth Cheruiyot, (KEN) DNF
#7 Andres Espinosa, (MEX) fin.17th-2:18:47
#10 Silvio Guerra
, (ECU) fin. 2nd-2:10:19
#2 Joseph Chebet, (KEN) obscured, fin.1st-2:09:52
27 Tesfaye Bekele, (ETH) part. obscured, fin.20th- 2:21:20
#6 Vanderli Lima, (BRA) fin.93rd-2:36:36
#34 Abner Chipu
, (RSA) fin.4th-2:12:46
#8 Jose Garcia
#1 Moses Tanui, (KEN) DNF
#39 Jose Luis Molina
, (COS) fin. 7th-2:14:27
We did manage to catch a glimpse of the eventual winner, Joseph Chebet (KEN). He is pictured here second from the right, enjoying "team tactics".


Sun Yingjie (CHN)
aggressively launched into a record pace right from the start. She passed through 5K in 15:39, 10 seconds under Joan Benoit Samuelson's 1983 record split. She would continue to lead until just past the halfway mark, when Fatuma Roba and Catherine Ndereba passed her.

At the 10K mark Fatuma Roba (ETH) and Yuko Arimori (JPN) were happy to trail Sun Yingjie by 1:07

Roba would win her third Boston
in a row, running 2:23:25.

Arimori finished third in 2:26:39

In her marathon debut,
Catherine Ndereba (KEN)
cruised along in sunglasses.

She finished in sixth place,
running 2:28:27.

Colleen DeRueck (RSA) leads a small pack through the10K mark in 33:49, 1:19 behind the women's leader at this point.

Colleen ran her personal best for this course, finishing fourth in 2:27:54. Her best placing at Boston was in 1997 when she finished third.

Tucked on the right side of this pack is Lynn Jennings, the top US woman in this year's race. This was Lynn's official marathon debut. (She ran unofficially in 1978, finishing in 2:46)

Lynn qualified for US Olympic marathon trials by running 2:38:37. She finished 12th overall, first American woman, narrowly edging out Julia Kirtland of Maine by 1:08.


Bill Rodgers (age 51) entered this year's marathon with the goal of setting some age group records. He had officially retired from marathoning on April 8, 1993, but over the past two years Bill felt his training and racing were going so well that marathon records were within reach. He had considered running Boston in 1998, but previous commitments made that impossible.

After a very busy weekend of personal appearances, Bill joined the field in Hopkinton on a warm sunny day, the type of conditions he has never enjoyed racing in.

1st 5K - 17:20
2nd 5K - 17:41
3rd 5K - 17:40
4th 5K - 17:48
5th 5K - 18:05
6th 5K - 21:01
A look at his race splits show he was right on 2:30 pace until dehydration hit. The photo at the left shows Bill at 10K. He appeared to be working hard at that point, and like many others in the race, sweating a bit too much. He dropped out at the medical area at the top of Heartbreak Hill.

Hopefully Bill will run Boston again. We all deserve to see the "King of the Roads" cruise down Boylston just one more time.


Results of the 1999 Boston Marathon

Men   Women  
Joseph Chebet, Kenya ($80,000)

Silvio Guerra, Ecuador ($40,000)

Frank Pooe, South Africa ($22,500)




Fatuma Roba, Ethiopia ($80,000)

Franziska Rochat-Moser, Switz.($40,000)

Yuko Arimori, Japan ($22,500)




Men - Wheelchairs   Women - Wheelchairs  
Franz Nietlispach, Switzerland ($10,000)

Saul Mendoza, Mexico($5,000)

Scot Hollonbeck, Georgia ($2,500)




Louise Sauvage, Australia ($10,000)

Jean Driscoll, Illinois ($5,000)

Edith Hunkeler, Switzerland ($2,500)





1998 Boston Marathon    

1997 Boston Marathon Scrapbook

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