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And they're off..

Posted at 8:53 AM on April 20, 2009 by Chris Dall


The 2009 Boston Marathon is just getting underway this hour, and among the favorites in the women's field is Duluth's own Kara Goucher. Goucher finished third in the 2008 New York Marathon, her first marathon ever, and set an American record for a marathon debut. If you want to track her progress, you can follow the race at the marathon Web site.

If Goucher does win in Boston, she would be the first American woman to do so since Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach won it in 1985.

At the 15K mark, Kara Goucher is in the lead pack with Ethiopians Dire Tune and Bezunesh Bikele. Tune won last year's Boston Marathon. Also in the lead pack is American Elva Dryer.

The women have reached the halfway mark, and Goucher remains in a large lead pack with 17 other runners. The television analysts have noted that the women are running a fairly slow pace, which could be in Goucher's favor.

Meanwhile, the men are running at a pace that would break the course record, set in 2006. Among the leaders is Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya, who's going for his fourth Boston victory, and American Ryan Hall.

The big test of the race is coming up shortly for the women. Starting at mile 16, runners hit the beginning of the Newton Hills, which culminate between miles 20 and 21 at Heartbreak Hill, the spot that has killed many a hope for victory over the years.

Kara Goucher is in the lead as the women crest Heartbreak Hill, followed closely by Dire Tune and several other runners. One television analyst has noted the "metronome" pace of the women. The rest of the race is all downhill as the women head into downtown Boston.

As for the men, Deriba Merga of Ethiopia and Daniel Rono of Kenya are pulling away from the rest of the men. American Ryan Hall is in fourth, about 20 seconds off the pace.

Just past 24 miles, Goucher remains in the lead and is pushing the pace, but Dire Tune is right on her shoulder. The last mile covered was run in 5:11.

The race has ended for the top women, with Kara Goucher finishing in third place, with a time of 2:32:25. Goucher held the lead into the 25th mile but couldn't break away, and in the end was overtaken by Selina Kosgie of Kenya and Dire Tune. Kosgie defeated Tune with a final surge at the tape. Deriba Merge of Ethiopia won the men's race in a time of 2:01:24, with Ryan Hall finishing third.

Though she has nothing to be ashamed of, the finish must have been tough for Goucher. She really pushed the pace for the last 5 miles of the race, and was right there until about 400 yards were left, but couldn't answer once Tune and Kosgie started their sprint.

(Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

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