American wins Hanoi race

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The Independent Online
HANOI (Reuter) - An American runner, cheered by crowds lining the streets of Hanoi, won the Vietnam marathon yesterday in another small step on the road to rapprochement between the two former enemies.

'Good morning, Vietnam,' shouted Doug Kurtis, a 40-year-old computer programmer from Northville, Michigan, as he crossed the finishing line.

'I was running only as hard as I needed to. It was hot,' Mr Kurtis said, after completing the race, in 2 hours 39 minutes and 14 seconds, in 25C temperatures.

President Bush last month authorised United States firms to open offices in Vietnam once Washington ends an economic embargo against the country.