Posted by: Joe English | November 24, 2008

Races: Toptun and Ovcharuk win Philadelphia Marathon

PHILADELPHIA — Two Ukrainian runners placed first as two Americans finished second in Sunday’s 15th annual Philadelphia Marathon. Cold, windy conditions made for tough running for the second year in a row in Philadelphia.

Andriy Toptun, 27, won the men’s race in a time of 2:19:58. Fred Kieser, 37, of Cleveland, Ohio placed second in 2:22:45.

In the women’s race, first-time marathoner Vera Ovcharuk, 27, took honors in a time of 2:44:03. Abby Dean, 37, a Philadelphia native, was the runner-up in 2:48:52.

Toptun took the lead in the men’s race in the first mile and never looked back. He was aiming for a time in the 2:18 range, but the cold weather and wind held him bacl. “I had to run alone and it was cold, so the time is not too bad,” Toptun said through an interpreter.

Kieser lost sight of Toptun early on, but said he was satisfied taking second.

“There was no doubt the cold slowed everything down,” said Kieser, who coaches a high school girls cross country team in Cleveland. “I thought I might have a chance (at Toptun) at the eight-mile mark, but he just had too much left in the tank.”

Ovcharuk waited until the 20-mile mark before making her move.

“I had never run a marathon,” Ovcharuk said. “I ran slowly for the first half, then ran faster (from there).”

Dean ran the New York City Marathon just three weeks ago, but she said her time was slowed by an allergic reaction to something she ate. So she wanted to see if she could do better in her hometown.

“I was trying to break 2:40 in New York,” said Dean, who does research work at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. “I had hives and an asthma attack on the course. So I knew Philly was coming up and I love this course. I decided to give it another shot.”

2008 Philadelphia Marathon
Men’s Results
1. Andrey Toptun 2:19:57
2. Fred Kieser 2:22:44
3. Evan Graves 2:24:38
4. Craig Segal 2:25:09
5. Andy Allstadt 2:25:14

Women’s Results
1. Vera Ovcharuk 2:44:02
2. Abby Dean 2:48:52
3. Christina Sheehan 2:50:21
4. Marisha Kramer 2:51:33
5. Jenifer Martin 2:53:28

Race results provided by Active.com. For complete results click here.

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