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  2001 BOSTON MARATHON

With three of a kind, deck may be stacked

By Barbara Huebner, Globe Staff, 4/13/2001

he top three women are all in great shape, so Monday's race could be a gem.

Both defending champion Catherine Ndereba and three-time winner Fatuma Roba ran the fastest half marathon of their lives this spring, and challenger Lornah Kiplagat set a world's best for 20K (just shy of the half-marathon distance) last month.

If anyone has a shot at an upset it's Russia's Ludmila Petrova, who ran a smart race last fall to win in New York, but it will be tough to crack a triumvirate that includes the fourth-fastest woman in history (Ndereba), the 1996 Olympic gold medalist (Roba), and a hungry speedster who fears neither (Kiplagat). Recent history favors Ndereba: Since 1992, every women's winner has been able to defend at least once.

* Catherine Ndereba
* Fatuma Roba
* Lornah Kiplagat
* Ludmila Petrova
* Lyubov Morgunova
* Wei Yanan
* Zhang Shujing
* Malgorzata Sobanska
* Irina Timofeyeva
* Ruth Jepkoech Kutol
* Bruna Genovese
* Susannah M. Beck

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