Silva, Loroupe already getting fitted for NYC Marathon prizes
NEW YORK (AP) _ The New York City Marathon still was five days away, yet German Silva of Mexico and Tegla Loroupe of Kenya already were laying claim to the prizes awarded the winners.
First, the two playfully jostled for the keys to a new sports utility car, then tried on expensive watches Tuesday.
The keys were being dangled out the left front window by W.K. Kim, president of Kia Motors America, who was sitting in the driver’s seat.
``Whoever gets the keys first gets the car,″ Silva said jokingly to Loroupe.
As Kim held out his left hand, the two distance runners grabbed for the keys, arriving about the same time.
``Tegla, this is your car,″ Silva said politely.
``She has a license but she cannot drive,″ he added with a laugh.
Actually, neither will have to be concerned if they finish first in Sunday’s race. Both the men’s and women’s winners will receive new cars.
``I have two cars,″ Kim told them assuringly. ``You don’t have to worry about running against each other. And you don’t have to worry about me, either. I’m running, but I don’t want to beat you.″
``No, we have to run against the others,″ Silva said.
Loroupe won new cars for being the first women’s finisher in the 1994 and 1995 New York City Marathon. She gave away the second vehicle and still has the first but doesn’t drive it.
``I want someone to drive me,″ she said sheepishly.
Silva also received new cars for winning the 1994 and 1995 New York City Marathon. He sold them both, because Mexican citizens are not permitted to bring vehicles into the country unless they pay 100 percent taxes.
If he wins this time, though, he plans to keep the car.
``I’ll put it in my wife’s name _ Miranda,″ he said. ``She’s from Holland.″
After toying with the cars, Silva and Loroupe were allowed to try on the $8,000 watches being given the winners by the Chopard Corp.
Silva, wearing the 18-carat yellow gold Mille Miglia model, and Loroupe, with the Happy Sport model with 18 carats and seven moving diamonds, were reluctant to return the watches to William Fuhrman, managing director of the company.
``The watches are on loan,″ they were told. ``You have to win the race to keep them.″
``Time is most important,″ said Silva, doing his best to convince Fuhrman to let him keep the watch permanently. ``Well, I guess after the race, we’ll see what happens.″
Loroupe also stressed the importance of having a watch during the race, especially to check whether she is on record pace like she was last year before faltering and finishing seventh.
``I hope they will give it to me back,″ she said, eying her bare left wrist.
In addition to the new car and watch, Sunday’s winners will each collect $50,000 _ a $20,000 increase from last year, when Giacomo Leone of Italy and Anuta Catuna of Romania were the winners.
Leone is not back to defend his crown, and Silva, who skipped the 1996 race, is the favorite for his third title. Although Catuna is returning, Loroupe is favored to regain the title, also making her a three-time winner.