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Ripp, Van Dyk: Spin control

By Bob Monahan, Globe Correspondent, 4/22/2003


Road rave
Zakharova takes women's title
Boston street smarts
Kimutai got over the hump
Runyan fifth after battle
Denisova knew her place: 2d
Hellebuyck leads the way
Ripp, Van Dyk: Spin control
Russian contingent was rushin'
Wellesley voices carry
Heart, sole are put to the test
Hopkinton's just the beginning
Pushing the human body
Up-close view for this father
Girl OK after wheelchair collision
In the running

R. Cheruiyot 2:10:11
Benjamin Kosgei Kimutai 2:10:34
Martin Lel 2:11:11
Timothy Cherigat 2:11:28
Christopher Cheboiboch 2:12:45
Fedor V. Ryzhov 2:15:29
Rodgers Rop 2:16:14
David Kiptum Busienei 2:16:16
Elly K. Rono 2:17:00
Eddy Hellebuyck 2:17:18
| Men's Top 25 |

Svetlana Zakharova 2:25:20
Lyubov Denisova 2:26:51
Joyce Chepchumba 2:27:20
Margaret Okaya 2:27:39
Marla Runyan 2:30:28
Albina Ivanova 2:30:57
Firaya Sultanova-Zhdanova 2:31:30
Milena Glusac 2:37:32
Jill Gaitenby 2:38:19
Esther Kiplagat 2:38:43
| Women's Top 25 |

Ernst F. Van Dyk1:28:32
Krige Schabort1:30:07
Kelly Smith 1:30:52
| Complete list (men & women) |

Christina Ripp1:54:47
Cheri A. Blauwet1:54:57
Edith Hunkeler1:56:54
| Complete list (men & women) |

Search BAA database of all finishers

Christina Ripp, the 22-year-old winner of the women's wheelchair division yesterday, can't escape the shadow of eight-time Boston winner Jean Driscoll. But that's high praise after Ripp, a senior at the University of Illinois, won her first Boston Marathon title yesterday, posting a 1:54:47 to edge Cheri Blauwet of San Lorenzo, Calif., (1:54:57) and defending champion Edith Hunkeler (1:56:54) of Switzerland.

Ripp, who jockeyed with Blauwet the last 6 miles, said, ''Jean and I both come from Wisconsin and we both attended the University of Illinois. I pushed with her a few times at school and I always admired her. She's the best. ''Before the race she talked to me and my teammates and wished us luck. But there is no way I can be compared to her. This was just my third marathon. I won at Chicago and was second here last year. I will be back, but I'm not Jean.

''I'm a good athlete, but I'm still learning the marathon. I have to improve in all facets of the race: the uphills, the downhills, and the flat portions.''

Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa won his third straight men's wheelchair title in 1:28:32, followed by countryman Krige Schabort (1:30:07) and Canadian Kelly Smith (1:30.52). Schabort had a mishap at the 11-mile mark.

''I was going along pretty well when a girl, say 11 or 12 [actually, 7], ran in front of me,'' he said. ''My front wheel hit her and then my left wheel went over her. I was scared and had to pull over. I'm sure she wasn't hurt because I was going about 17 miles an hour. If I were going, say, 40 miles an hour she may have been hurt. The people who helped me up said the girl was OK. That's good.''

Van Dyk led from start to finish and was never pressed. He started the race with a course record in mind.

''I was thinking of it and I thought I had a chance until the 10-mile mark,'' he said. ''I was going at a nice pace and then the conditions changed. The headwinds were too strong. It seems there have been headwinds here the last nine years and the six years before that there were tailwinds. When the conditions are right, the record will be tested.

''Now my goal is to win a fourth Boston to tie Franz Nietlispach, who won four in a row [1997-2000]. That would be great. I will make that a goal. I'd like to get that record, but I'll have to earn it, and like I said the conditions would have to be right.''

Ripp and Blauwet built a tremendous lead over Hunkeler and agreed during the race to stay together most of the way.

''We thought that was the right thing to do,'' said Ripp. ''Early in the race I was in the draft made by Cheri and Edith. When it came down to just Cheri and me, we stayed close.''

Said Blauwet, ''It was a good race against that headwind. It was a case that Christina had more energy than I at the end of the race.''

Hunkeler added, ''I just got too tired too early. I tried to push harder but I didn't have the energy.''

Ripp was introduced to basketball before long-distance racing. She's a point guard on the US women's wheelchair team and played in Gold Cup championships in Sydney in 1998 and 2000 and paced the US to a silver medal in Japan in 2002. Ripp also placed in two events (5,000-meter gold, 800-meter silver) at the International Paralympic Committee's Track and Field Championships last July in France.

''Hey, I'm still learning,'' said Ripp.

This story ran on page C4 of the Boston Globe on 4/22/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

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