2004 PDR Beats the Weather
PHILADELPHIA, PA--A hurricane named Ivan and a 22-year-old named Julius both delivered surprises in the 27th running of the Jefferson Hospital Philadelphia Distance Run on September 19. Julius Kibet, 22, who trains in West Chester, won the half-marathon in 1:01:18, running a course that included a muddy stretch of Kelly Drive which flooded after the remnants of Hurricane Ivan caused torrential rains the day before. At the 11th hour, race organizers were able to avoid detouring the course, thanks to a heroic nighttime clean-up by the City of Philadelphia.
Leading the pack throughout the outbound section and running alone into the wind on the West River Drive was Kenyan Luke Metto, now a resident of Peoria, IL. Metto led for nearly 10 miles, opening a lead of 100 yards before fatigue set in. The pursuit pack included the same five runners for most of the race: Moroccan-American Khalid Khannouchi, Kenyans Julius Kibet, Gabriel Muchiri, and John Itati, and Moroccan El-Arbi Khattabi (who finished second in the JHPDR in 2003).
Mile after mile through the middle section of the race, this pack clustered shoulder to shoulder until at mile 11, Muchiri dropped out, clutching his side in pain. The remaining four stuck together past Boathouse Row, up the hill to the Art Museum, and down the Ben Franklin Parkway as far as Logan Circle. With about 300 meters to go and the finish line in sight, Kibet made his move, pouring on the speed. Answering Kibets surge but unable to match his closing speed were Khattabi (who also trains in West Chester) in 1:01:19 and three-time PDR champion Khannouchi in 1:01:21. Metto came in fourth in 1:01:37.
Kibet ran his race exactly according to the game plan of coach Hussein Makke of Elite International Sports Management in West Chester. "We wanted him to be patient and pace himself and let someone else go out fast. He got that message and ran this race just the way we discussed." Flashing a sunny smile, Kibet said, "I didnt expect to win, but when I looked over my shoulder, I could see that I was going to do it."
Top woman finisher Nuta Olaru, 34, broke the tape at 1:09:38. She pulled ahead at nine miles after running in a pack with 2003 JHPDR winner Leah Malot and 90-pound Japanese phenom Masako Chiba, who finished 2nd and 3rd in 1:10:02 and 1:10:55, respectively. Olaru, who had finished 13th in the Athens Olympics Marathon and won the Virginia Beach Rock & Roll Marathon two weeks before the JHPDR, has the Chicago Marathon next on her to-do list. When not in her native Romania, she trains with the Boulder Wave and finished fifth in the Boston Marathon.
In the Masters division, 42-year-old Steve Spence (head track & field and cross-country coach at Shippensburg University) repeated his 2003 victory in 1:06:21. The 2000 JHPDR Masters champion, Tatyana Pozdnyakova, 49, of Ukraine, won in 1:13:36.
In the 5K Classic following the half-marathon, the top runners made the day a family affair. The 5K was won by relatives of some of the half-marathon stars. Alae Eddine Khannouchi, brother of Khalid, won the mens event in 16:07 and Steve Spences 14-year-old daughter Neely won the womens race in 18:17.
"Im very relieved at how the event turned out," said Race Director Mark Stewart, who had been awakened with the news of Kelly Drives flooding in the wee hours of Sunday morning. "Im grateful to all the people who were out in the dark and gloom clearing water and muck so our 8,800 runners could run the course we promised them. Everybody involved in the race owes a huge thank you to the Fairmount Park Commission."
Top local residents in the half-marathon included Edward Callinan, 30, of Cherry Hill, NJ in 1:06:40; Ross Martinson, 26, of Conshohocken in 1:06:44; and Gene Mitchell, 36, of Ardmore in 1:06:46. Top female local runners included Emily Kroshus, 21, of Bryn Mawr in 1:15:55; Lisah Hamilton, 32, of Phoenixville in 1:16:23; and Andrea Niggemeier, 35, of Philadelphia in 1:18:57.
Complete results are available at www.philadistancerun.org.
1. Julius Kibet 1:01:18
1. Alae Eddine Khannouchi 16:07
1. Nuta Olaru 1:09:38
1. Neely Spence 18:17