by Graeme Shirley
New York, New York - (November 3, 2002) - Mebrahtom (Meb) Keflezighi, three-time Athlete of the Year for San Diego USATF, made his marathon debut a successful one as he ran 2:12:35 to finish ninth overall, and first American, at the 2002 New York City Marathon.
Three familiar names to San Diego, Marla Runyan, Milena Glusac, and Sylvia Mosqueda, took the top three American spots among the women, who started 35 minutes ahead of the men.
Runyan, a San Diego State graduate now training in Oregon, was a 1994 San Diego USATF award winner recognized for her heptathlon accomplishments. Her 2:27:10, good for fifth overall, barely missed Deena Drossin's 2:26:58 American record debut set in the 2001 NYC Marathon.
Second American Milena Glusac, 2001 San Diego USATF Athlete of the Year, improved her 2001 NYC debut mark by over three minutes with her tenth-place 2:31:14. Much like Keflezighi a few minutes behind her, Glusac made an aggressive move to take the lead going over the Queensborough Bridge at 16 miles, but paid the price later. At 20 miles her 1:52:54 was just 33 seconds behind the leader and eventual winner Joyce Chepchumba (2:25:56).
The third American, thirteenth overall, was 37-year-old Los Angeles resident Sylvia Mosqueda, a familiar sight in San Diego area races, most recently at the North American Team Championships. Her 2:33:47 is a personal record (PR) by almost three minutes.
Keflezighi ran with the lead group through 10K (30:25) and reached the halfway point in 1:03:50. As late as 18 miles he temporarily took the lead over eventual winner Rodgers Rop (2:08:07 PR), and reached 20 miles at 1:37:27, but faded over the latter stages of the race. Still, his final time was close to his pre-race projection, and was the fastest ever by a San Diego USATF member.
Keflezighi, 27, is the current American Record holder at 10,000 meters (27:13.98, 2001). Born in Eritrea, he and his family moved to San Diego in 1987, where he graduated from San Diego High School in 1994.
In 1994, he won the California State High School Championships at both 1600 meters (4:07.67) and 3200 meters (8:58.11). He then won 4 NCAA titles at UCLA in 1997. After gaining U.S. citizenship in 1998, he won the 2000 Olympic Trials 10,000 meters (28:03.32), and made the Olympic Final, where he placed 12th (27:53.63).
In the past two years, training with Team USA California, coached by Bob Larsen at Mammoth Lakes, he has established himself as the top U.S. runner for cross country and road races at 10K through 15K.
For more information visit the New York City Marathon site.
For Milena Glusac at 18 miles, check out Basil Honikman's photo at Running USA.