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Tola/Radcliffe Win NYC 13.1M, Ryan Hall Third

Race champions take control early and don’t let up; Ryan Hall third

NEW YORK – (August 16, 2009) – The winners of Sunday’s 4th NYC Half-Marathon are growing accustomed to breaking the tape in New York’s most coveted races. Three-time ING New York City Marathon winner Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain and NYC Half defending champion Tadese Tola of Ethiopia triumphed again on the streets of NYC.

Despite warm, humid conditions, the professional
men and women took off quickly as the horn sounded at 7:00am in Central
Park. Radcliffe , who’s run history’s fastest-ever
half-marathon (1:05:40) but had never raced the distance in the United
States, led Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska, while defending race champion Catherine Ndereba of Kenya kept close company.

As the women left the park in the eighth mile,
Radcliffe, 35, made a break and never looked back. She hadn’t raced
since her ING New York City Marathon victory last November, and the
British Olympian entered the NYC Half just this week as a test of her
fitness and recovery from bunion surgery in March. She’ll decide in the
next few days whether she will run the IAAF World Championships
Marathon in Berlin on Sunday, August 23.

“I needed to blow out some racing cobwebs,” said
Radcliffe. “I’m the first to admit that this is an unorthodox way to
test myself for a marathon – running a half-marathon a week out.”

Radcliffe eased up in the final miles and finished
in 1 hour, 9 minutes, 45 seconds, just two seconds short of Ndereba’s
course record. Daska was runner-up in 1:11:04 and Ndereba took third
(1:11:56).

Tola’s initial fast start was matched by four-time Olympian Hendrick Ramaala of South Africa. “We knew he was going to push us, and I took the risk, but he didn’t want my company,” said Ramaala.

By mile nine, Tola, 21, was alone on the West Side
Highway. “It’s very hard to run by yourself,” Tola said, comparing this
year’s race last year’s close finish with Kenya’s Patrick Makau.
This year, despite leg cramping after 15K, he held on to finish in
1:01:06, just eight seconds shy of his 2008 time but far from Haile Gebrselassie‘s 2007 record of 59:24.

Morocco’s Ridouane Harroufi took second in 1:02:32, and U.S. Olympian and half-marathon record holder Ryan Hall followed closely in 1:02:35, good for third.

“I have a good amount of time to prepare for New
York City,” said Hall, referring to his plans to run the ING New York
City Marathon 2009. “I should be able to run this pace twice over in
November.”

Three women with New York ties placed in the top 10: Bizunesh Deba of Westchester Track Club (WTC, fifth, 1:13:17), Ilsa Paulson of WTC (sixth, 1:13:20) and New York native Lindsey Scherf (ninth, 1:14:56). Local men Stephen Chemlany of WTC (seventh, 1:04:10), Ketema Nigusse of West Side Runners (eighth, 1:04:13) and Worku Beyi of WTC (ninth, 1:04:28) also performed well.

“I expected a top finish,” said Chemlany, “and it was good to have competition with my fellow locals.”

A total of 10,171 people finished the race. For
many, the warm conditions were a challenge, but they responded with
typical New York grit and determination.

“All the training runs in the park really made a difference,” said Melissa Bergman, a Team for Kids runner who finished in 2:19:14.

Another NYC finisher, Michael Anderson,
mopped his dripping brow and smiled after his 1:38:53 finish. “It was
tough,” he said, “but no matter how bad you feel, nothing beats running
through Times Square.”

4th NYC Half-Marathon
New York, NY, Sunday, August 16, 2009

MEN
1) Tadese Tola (ETH), 1:01:06, $10,000
2) Ridouane Harroufi (MAR), 1:02:32, $7500
3) Ryan Hall (USA / CA), 1:02:35, $5000
4) Abdi Abdirahman (USA / AZ), 1:02:51, $3500
5) Hendrick Ramaala (RSA), 1:04:02, $2000
6) Abderrahime Bouramdane (MAR), 1:04:08, $1500
7) Stephen Chemlany (KEN), 1:04:10, $1000
8) Ketema Nigusse (ETH), 1:04:13, $750
9) Worku Beyi (ETH), 1:04:28, $500
10) Hosea Rotich (KEN), 1:04:59, $250

WOMEN
1) Paula Radcliffe (GBR), 1:09:45, $10,000
2) Mamitu Daska (ETH), 1:11:04, $7500
3) Catherine Ndereba (KEN), 1:11:56, $5000
4) Nadia Ejjafini (BRN), 1:12:47, $3500
5) Buzunesh Deba (ETH), 1:13:17, $2000
6) Ilsa Paulson (USA / NY), 1:13:20, $1500
7) Deena Kastor (USA / CA), 1:13:47, $1000
8) Aniko Kalovics (HUN), 1:14:51, $750
9) Lindsey Scherf (USA / NY), 1:14:56, $500
10) Sheri Piers (USA / ME), 1:16:16, $250

Full results at: www.NYRR.org

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