German Silva saw visions of his father. Tegla Loroupe saw her s
Nov. 13, 1995
NEW YORK (AP) _ German Silva saw visions of his father. Tegla Loroupe saw her sister's smile.
Even though Agapito Silva and Albina Loroupe were deceased, they were there in spirit in Sunday's New York City Marathon.
In a poignant display of courage, Silva and Loroupe overcame their grief to finish first among the men and women for the second consecutive year.
``Wherever my father is, he's happy and proud,'' the emotional Silva, a 27-year-old Mexican, said after completing the cold, windswept, 26-mile, 385-yard course in 2 hours, 11 minutes _ 21 seconds faster than last year.
Agapito Silva, 70, died of cancer in July.
``When I was training, I could see her face and she was smiling,'' Loroupe said of her 33-year-old sister, who died Oct. 30 of stomach hemorrhaging, leaving four children, ages 10 to 1. ``Even today, I could see her face in front of me and she was still smiling.
``I ran a good race for her, but when I finished I was sad because when I go home next week I'm going to see the children but not my sister. She gave me a lot of strength and encouragement.
``This year was very special _ running for my sister.''
The 22-year-old Kenyan was timed in 2:28:06 _ 29 seconds slower than in 1994.
Afterward, she was smiling _ and sad.
``She said, `By the way, German Silva also won,''' race director Allan Steinfeld said. ``Then she cried and hugged me. She needed someone to hang onto.''
``I wanted German to win for the memory of his father,'' said Loroupe, adding that she and Silva had been consoling each other for the past week.
Then the two winners embraced warmly on the victory stand, Silva wrapping an arm around Loroupe's shoulder. They had kept their promises.
Just before Albina died, she had told her mother to ``tell Tegla to fulfill her responsibility in New York.'' She added, ``I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Tegla.''
``I promised my sister the last time I saw her (in July) that I wouldn't come back home until after New York,'' Loroupe said before the race. ``So I have to keep that promise to her. I've encouraged myself to continue.''
Loroupe, who said she would take care of her sister's children, won the women's division by about 750 meters.
Silva also had promised another victory to his father, who was elated with his son's win a year ago.
``I am very happy for my second victory,'' Silva said. ``I love this marathon.''
Silva said his emotions were the same as Loroupe's because of their dual anguish.
``It is something I have in common with Tegla,'' he said. ``We feel together.
``I was running for my father. He was in my mind. He's with me everywhere. I was doing this in his memory. When I remember him, he gives me motivation.''
Braving a record-low temperature and fierce winds, Silva became the first repeat champion since Italy's Orlando Pizzolato won in 1984 and 1985, while Loroupe became the first woman to win two in a row since Norway's Grete Waitz, a nine-time champion, won her fifth straight in 1986.
Silva's time was aided by the fact that he remained on track this year, as opposed to last year when he veered off course with about a quarter-mile remaining. Then, he was redirected by a New York City policeman and beat countryman Benjamin Parades by two seconds in the closest finish in the race's 26-year history.
When he arrived at that spot this time, there was no hesitancy.
``I could see the people and the police, and when I saw them I remembered,'' he said, smiling. ``I knew very well how far I had to go.
``I was quite sure that when I got into the last part of Central Park that not too many could catch me.''
Paul Evans of Britain finished second in 2:11:05, with William Koech of Kenya third in a personal-best 2:11:19.
Loroupe was followed by world champion Manuela Machado of Portugal in 2:30:37 and first-time marathoner Lieve Slegers of Belgium in 2:32:08.
The temperature at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in Staten Island at the start of the race was 40 degrees, matching the previous low, first set in 1981 and equaled in 1989 and 1992. The winds were gusting up to 55-60 mph, and the wind chill factor was a bitter 18 degrees.
That forced the field of approximately 27,900 to don warm weather gear to combat the extremely cold and windy conditions.
Olga Appell, the only elite American in the field, wore long bicycle shorts, a T-shirt cut off at the sleeves, long socks on her arms, a headband and sunglasses. She also greased her face and legs with oil.
None of that seemed to help. Appell, who went out unusually fast and built a huge early lead, dropped out before the 13th mile.
The wind was very fickle, swirling throughout.
At the start, it was at the runners' backs. Crossing through Brooklyn, the runners were faced with headwinds. And so it went, as they raced through the city's five boroughs.
As the race progressed, the temperature varied little, rising only a degree, but the wind diminished dramatically, dropping to 19-32 mph. Still, the wind chill factor was only 21 degrees.
Nevertheless, as the elite runners began clicking off their miles and getting into the serious stages of the race, they started shedding some clothing, such as gloves and headbands.
The weather also produced other difficulties.
For example, before the start, some expansion joints blew off the Verrazano-Narrows bridge, and during the race, phone lines along the course to report the results to press headquarters were not working.
On Saturday night, two runners were slightly injured during the race's annual pasta party at Tavern on the Green in Central Park when a 100-pound spaghetti display blew down in the high winds.
In the race, Naasi Gwagwe, a little-known, 19-year-old Tanzanian running his first marathon, set a quick early pace, leading through the first 10 miles before dropping out.
Then VanderLei Lima, a seasoned marathoner from Brazil, led through mile 16 before yielding to Andre-Luis Ramos, 25, a first-time marathoner, also from Brazil.
Ramos, however, was not alone. As the front-runners headed toward the finish line, there still were 12 at the front of the pack at 22 miles. After that, the field thinned out and Silva pulled away from Evans in the final two miles.
After Appell withdrew, the women's race was a battle between Loroupe and Machado for nearly four miles before the 4-foot-11, 78-pound Kenyan burst away, opening a gap of 50-60 yards within a quarter-mile. There was no catching her after that.