Older doesn't necessarily mean slower in marathoning. Not when a separate division -- for those over 40 -- means a separate winner.
Joshua Kipkemboi, 45, finished seventh in yesterday's Boston Marathon and Ramilia Burangulova, 42, finished ninth, but they won the masters divisions for men and women.
It was Burangulova's first attempt at Boston, and even though the Moscow citizen trains in Gainesville, Fla., she had a strong opinion of yesterday's weather.
"I train in Florida, where the temperatures are very similar," she said through a translator. "But this was too hot of a course."
Burangulova, who finished in 2 hours 34 minutes 8 seconds, already was off to a successful start this year. She won the masters division -- and placed second overall -- at the
Last year, she won her division at the Hartford Marathon and in 2002 won the Rocket City (Ala.) Marathon. In 2001, she finished fourth overall at the Philadelphia Half Marathon and set a masters world record of 1:11:41.
Burangulova waited until more than halfway through the race to make her move. It looked as if defending masters champion Firaya Sultanova-Zhdanova would repeat as she ran with the leaders for the first 10 miles. But as the race went on and the temperature went up, she dropped back and Burangulova stepped up. By the time the runners were coming down Heartbreak Hill, the Russian had eased into 10th place and would move up one more spot by the end of the race.
In the men's race, it appeared that Kenyan Jackson Kipng'ok would challenge both Kipkemboi and defending masters champion Fedor Ryzhov. Kipng'ok had run Boston before but not in the masters division. Last fall, he won the division and placed 18th overall in the New York City Marathon.
Kipng'ok ran in front of the pack for the first few miles, then Ryzhov moved up as well. But just as in the women's race, Heartbreak Hill separated the leaders from the rest of the pack.
"I was running next to Fedor, then after Heartbreak Hill I took over the lead," said Kipkemboi, who finished in 2:18:23. "It was very hot. Last year I ran in Beirut and that wasn't as hot as it was today."
Kipkemboi made his masters debut in Boston in 1999, when he was the 12th overall finisher, second in the division. The next year he won the division, but in 2001 he was beaten by Ryzhov. Kipkemboi got the title back in 2002 as he ran Boston's second-fastest masters time (2:12:48) and finished 12th overall.
Kipkemboi has won the masters division in the Twin Cities (Minn.) Marathon the past four years. And he was no slouch in his pre-masters days, either. He took first place in the 1998 and 1997 Dublin Marathon in Ireland, and was third there in 1996. He might be older and in a different division, but he's back on top.