Turbo Tumo Wins Men’s Race By One Second; Pozdiokova Keeps Women’s Crown
HOUSTON (AP) _ It took directions from a motorcycle patrolman and a desperate sprint to the finish line for Turbo Tumo of Ethiopia to win the Houston-Tenneco Marathon.
Tumo almost made a wrong turn near the finish line on Sunday, but recovered and sprinted to a one-second victory over Steve Brace of Wales in the second-closest race in the event’s 24-year history.
Tumo was timed in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 34 seconds; Brace in 2:10:35.
There was nothing close about the women’s race. Tatiana Pozdiokova of the Ukraine wasn’t among the leaders until the final miles, when she made her move and won her second straight title with a time of 2:31:03.
Each winner collected $25,000.
Tumo ran among the leaders throughout the race and took a narrow lead over Brace going into the final stretch. As the runners approached a final turn, the motorcycle escort pulled away and the runners were supposed to make a turn. Tumo briefly followed his escort.
``I was following the motor bike and I thought it was going the right way, but he told me to turn right,″ Tumo said.
Despite his slight detour, Tumo still felt he would prevail.
``I fell back but I knew I would win,″ he said. ``I knew my strength and speed, so I had confidence I’d win the race.″
Brace saw that Tumo was about to miss the final turn.
``I felt guilty at first, like maybe I should slow down and have a race to the finish, but I decided to go for it,″ Brace said.
It was the closest finish in the Houston Marathon since 1984, when Charlie Spedding of Great Britain won by leaning to the tape a split-second ahead of Massimo Magnani of Italy.
Adriana Fernandez and Loma Guadalupe of Mexico were the leaders through most of the second half of the women’s race. Pozdiokova was not among the top five until the 24th mile.
Then she charged.
``I thought I would repeat as champion because the people of Houston expected me to,″ Pozdiokova said.
Fernandez and Guadalupe wanted to stay with the lead pack for 20 miles, then sprint to the finish. But they didn’t account for Pozdiokova, whose victory boosted her hopes of getting a spot on the Russian Olympic team at age 41.