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Kenyans Make Unprecedented Sweep of NY Marathon - 2002-11-03

The 2002 New York City Marathon finished with an unprecedented sweep by Kenyan runners.

Kenyan Rodgers Rop won this year's 42-kilometer race with a time of 2 hours, 8 minutes, 7 seconds. He says he really had to "turn it on" in the final leg of the race to pull away from the other contenders.

"I was feeling a bit iffy in the legs and then after the 21st kilometer, I wanted to open it up. I thought the field was fairly strong, they were closing very quickly, so I had to go," he said.

Rop, who won the Boston Marathon earlier this year, finished 10 and 33 seconds in front of two other Kenyans, Christopher Cheboiboch and Laban Kipkemboi, respectively.

This was the first time in Marathon history that Kenyans finished first, second and third. It was also the first time that Kenyans won both the men's and the women's final.

Joyce Chepchumba was the first woman across the finish line with a time of 2:25:56. She says the victory follows many years of finishing in the top five.

"Last time when I was top three was '95, last year I was fourth place. But this time, it was my time, and I have to say 'thank you' for everything," she said.

Both Joyce Chepchumba and men's winner Rodgers Rop train in Germany with the same coach, Volker Wagner. They continue what is becoming a tradition of Kenyan domination of the world's long-distance marathons.