Liliya Shobukhova Wins 2010 Virgin London Marathon in 2:22:00, by Larry Eder

Liliya Shobukhova wins 2010 Virgin London Marathon, photo by

Liliya Shobukhova gave Russia their first winner at the 2010 Virgin London Marathon,
running a superb 2:22:00! The European record holder at 5,000 meters, Shobukhova has
now won Virgin London and Bank of America Chicago marathons. Shobukhova is showing that she is the most shockingly effective marathon finisher on the women's side of the sport! Her comment, which was not ambivalent in the least, should strike fear in the hearts of most women marathon runners, " I want to win London 2012."

The race started with fifty-three degrees, and a slight rain. The lead pack was a whos-who of
women's marathon running. Irina Mikintenko, the defending champion, Mara Yamauchi,
second place in the 2009 race, World Champion Xue Bai, Japan's Mari Ozaki and Yukiko
Akaba. Russians Liliya Shobukhova and Inga Abitova, Deena Kastor of the U.S. (2006
London champ), and Constantina Temescu-Dita, 2008 Olympic champion. Asefelch Mergia and Askale Tafa of Ethiopia were also thought to be pretty good shots for the race as well as Kim Smith, who dropped out in 2009.

2006 London champ, Deena Kastor, just had a bad day, photo by

From the start, Temescu-Dita was in trouble, 100 yards back from the pack by two miles. She ended up finishing in 2:41:12 in 25th place. Deena Kastor, the 2006 champion, was 19 seconds down at 5k, which the pack hit in 16:33, by the 10k, hit in 33:17, Deena was down 35 seconds. Deena held on to finish 18th place in 2:36:20-she was not having a good day.

In the pack, Liliya Shobukhova and Mara Yamauchi followed the pacemaker, Aniko Kalovics, who finished third in the European XC, Kalovics took the lead pack of fifteen through halfway in 1:10:56! Kalovics dropped out at the half marathon, having done her duty.

 The defending champs went by the wayside, and the race was full of surprises. Irina Mikintenko dropped back soon after 15k and dropped out before the Tower Bridge, citing poor training and another bad day.

Liliya Shobukhova, using the same tactics that helped her win in Chicago, kept close to the lead, or lead midway through the race, hitting 25k in 1:24.04, 30k in 1:41.08. By 30k, it was
really down to Bezenesh Bekele, Aselefech Mergia, Liliya Shobukhova and Inga Agitova-two Russians, and two Ethiopians. Nine seconds back were Yukiko Akaba of Japan, Askale Tele of Ethiopia an Xue Bae of China.

Fighting hard to get back into the race was Mara Yamauchi, who ended up tenth in 2;26:16.

Mara Yamauchi, 2010 Virgin London Marathon, photo by

Asafelech Mergia battled Shobukhova from 21-24 miles, making sure that there was no ambivalence in the message Mergia wanted to get across to Shobukhova--Mergia wanted the race almost as much as Shobukhova. Mergia lead at  24 miles, in the lead, in 2:10:18, she was still leading at 2:15:48, but by then, Shobukhova was next to her. In the fastest last 2.915 kilometers in marathon history for women, faster than Paula Radcliffe's epic finish in her world record run, Shobukhova put 38 seconds between her and Mergia, who ended up third, and 19 seconds on countrywomen Inga Abitova!

Mergia-Shobukhova-Ab#B4B7EB.jpg The battle for the 2010 Virgin London Marathon, photo by

Running a fine 2:22:00, Liliya Shobukhova of Russia become the first Russian women to win the Virgin London Marathon. Inga Abitova of Russia was second in 2:22:19. Asefelech Mergia of Ethiopia finished third in 2:22:38. In fourth, Bezunesh Bekele ran 2:23:17. In fifth, Askale Tele, also of Ethiopia, ran 2:24:39. In sixth, Yukiko Akaba of Japan ran 2:24.55. World Champion Xue Bai of China was seventh in 2:25:18. Kim Smith of New Zealand took a hard charging eighth place in 2:25:21! Mari Ozaki of Japan was ninth in 2:25:43 and Mara Yamauchi was tenth in 2:26:16.

Kiwi Kim Smith passes Xie Bai of China, 2010 Virgin London Marathon,
photo by

The women faced cold, some rain, and gave the fans a great competition! As of today, in my mind, Liliya Shobukhova, who told assembled media that she was not really in shape yet, is the finest women marathoner on the planet!. Her victory at the 2010 Virgin London Marathon
was not an ambivalent victory--it was gentle for 24 miles, then Shobukhova accelerating all of the way to the finish. Other women runners should take note.

Liliya Shobukhova, moment of victory, 2010 Virgin London Marathon,
photo by

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