Go to contents

Setback from 2nd Consecutive Title in `Human Tent`

Posted April. 17, 2002 09:18,   


Lee Bong-Ju sought his 2nd consecutive title at the 106th Boston Marathon, which took place on the 16th morning (Korean time), but failed by being trapped in a `human tent` that Kenyan runners made. He came 5th with the record of 2 hours 10 minutes 30 seconds.

As Kenya participated with 9 marathoners, its rookie Rodgers Rop claimed victory by 2 hours 9 minutes 2 seconds, and Christopher Cheboiboch came 2nd only 3 seconds later, 2 hours 9 minutes 5 seconds. Kenya set an impressive record of placing its 6 participants in the top 10, including the 3rd winner Fred Kiprop and the 4th Mbarak Hussein, both finishing in 2 hours 9 minutes 45 seconds.

Also on the previous day in the women’s race, Kenya predominated the 1st and 2nd positions, as its Margaret Okayo outran two-time defending champion and world record holder Catherine Ndereba (2 hrs 21 min 12 sec), setting the course record.

Lee eventually became locked up inside the `box` that the Kenyan runners formed, losing his pace in the day’s race. Kenyan athletes surround Lee from the very beginning and led the race in a skillful manner. Whenever Lee dashed out, they blocked the way, and when Lee became tired, they all ran ahead so that Lee had to chase after. Lee was persistent until the 25 kilometer-point, but met his limit at the 28 kilometer-point, as steep hill began. As the Kenyans spurted at this point, Lee fell back and once reached 11th as he passed 30 kilometers. Lee had to be content with overtaking 6 runners in last-minute sprinting.

“I wanted to get a good result before my marriage. It’s regretful, but I did my best,” said Lee after the race. He added, “I once fell behind at 25 kilometers and caught up immediately, but I think I overworked my stamina there. I couldn’t catch up with the Kenyans at 28 kilometers. It’s the Kenyans, plus the cold I got before the race.”

“If there was a partner to run with Lee, the situation would have been different. But there is no domestic athlete on that same level,” said coach Oh In-Hwan of Samsung Electronics marathon.

A number of names are currently being mentioned as successors of Lee in Korea, including Kim Yi-Yong (no affiliation. 2 hrs 7 min 49 sec), Jung Nam-Kyun (Samsung Electronics. 1 hrs 11 min 29 sec), and Ji Young-Jun (Kolon. 2 hrs 15 min 32 sec). However, all of them are suffering from injuries, as Kim recently left to the U.S. for plantar fascitis treatment. Yim Jin-Su (Kolon. 2 hrs 12 min 41 sec), who came 3rd in this year’s Donga Seoul International Marathon, is still to be shaped, said analysts.

Lee is to return on the 17th and have his wedding ceremony at Seoul Jamsil Stadium on the 21st, in blessings of 10,000 marathon-fans.