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Radcliffe, Lel Win London Marathon

April 17, 2005

LONDON (AP) _ Paula Radcliffe overcame stomach cramps to set a women’s-only record for the London Marathon on Sunday and won by more than five minutes while Kenya’s Martin Lel ran a personal best to capture a tight men’s race.

Radcliffe finished in 2 hours, 17 minutes, 42 seconds for her third London victory. The Englishwoman was forced to rest 5 miles from the end because of cramping.

``I’ve got to apologize to the nation for having to stop, but I was losing 10 seconds every time my stomach cramped up,″ Radcliffe told BBC television. ``I didn’t know how far I was ahead but I felt I just had to stop.″

She earned a $125,000 bonus for beating her own women’s-only best time of 2:18:56 set in 2002. She set the world record of 2:15:25 in 2003 using male pacemakers.

Lel finished in 2:07:26, with Jaouad Gharib of Morocco 23 seconds behind. Hendrick Ramaala of South Africa was third in 2:08:32. Africans took seven of the top 10 spots.

Radcliffe went out strong from the start and led from the seventh mile on a crisp, sunny day. Romania’s Constantina Tomescu-Dita was the runner-up, 5:08 behind, and Kenya’s Susan Chepkemei was third in 2:24:00.

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