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Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia wins women’s marathon in Olympic-record time of two hours, 23 minutes, seven seconds – NY Daily News
LONDON — Through 33 turns, past Big Ben and the Tower of London and enough other historical attractions to fill a guidebook, Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia never relented, running through a downpour at the start and a drizzle toward the end, capturing the gold medal in the women’s marathon in an Olympic-record time of two hours, 23 minutes, seven seconds on Sunday.
The 5-5, 106-pound Gelana, niece of the 2000 Olympic marathon winner, Gezhagne Abera, and the winner this year at Rotterdam , broke away from Kenya’s Priscah Jeptoo with just over a half-mile to go, and then held off a final late counter-surge by Jeptoo not even a water stop from Buckingham Palace.
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The race did not include world record-holder and British icon Paula Radcliffe, who is injured, but that was of no issue to the 24-year-old Gelana, who prevailed in the closest Olympic marathon ever.
Jeptoo’s silver medal time was 2:23:12. Tatyana Petrova of Russia was a surprise bronze medalist, bettering her personal-record time by almost 90 seconds with a finish of 2:23:29. Well beyond the halfway point, a lead pack of more than 20 were clustered, among them Americans Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher. But Gelana, who ran the second half in under one hour and 10 minutes, and Kenyans Jeptoo, Mary Keitany and Edna Kiplagat broke away, and Petrova joined them.
Flanagan, the bronze medalist at 10,000 meters in Beijing, wound up 10th, crossing in 2:25:51. Goucher clocked 2:26:07 and placed 11th.
“We all have perceived boundaries about what we are capable of,” Flanagan said. “I am capable of better.”
The third American in the field, Desiree Davila, withdrew after two miles with a hip ailment.