Chebet and Fernandez win in New York

Joseph Chebet and Adriana Fernandez put the frustration of second place behind them in the New York City Marathon on Sunday. Chebet of Kenya, the runner-up the last two years, used a powerful finishing kick to outduel Portugal's Domingos Castro.

Joseph Chebet and Adriana Fernandez put the frustration of second place behind them in the New York City Marathon on Sunday. Chebet of Kenya, the runner-up the last two years, used a powerful finishing kick to outduel Portugal's Domingos Castro.

He became the first marathon runner to win in Boston and New York in the same year since Alberto Salazar in 1982. Kenyans have won in New York the last three years.

"He tried to push me hard, and I tried to push him very hard," Chebet said.

Fernandez, who also finished second last year, easily won the women's division. The Mexican had a time of 2:25:05, the second-fastest in the race's history.

"I was feeling very strong and decided to take off," Fernandez said.

Chebet and Castro, more renowned as a track runner, ran side-by-side for about a mile until Chebet took command with about 1 3-4 miles to go. Between miles 24 and 25, he put in the fastest mile of the race, 4 minutes, 43 seconds.

Chebet, runner-up to countryman John Kagwe in 1997 and 1998, was timed in 2:09:14, six seconds ahead of Castro, He thwarted Kagwe's bid to become only the third male to win New York three straight years. The only two were Salazar, from 1980-82, and Bill Rodgers, from 1976-79.

After last year's heartbreaking loss, when he was beaten by three seconds, Chebet said he would change his tactics. "It's hard to take second-place finishes so often," he said. His strategy worked perfectly on Sunday.

For the first half of the race, the quartet of 1994-95 champion German Silva of Mexico, Robert Stefko of Slovakia, Leonid Shvetsov of Russia and Joao Ntyamba of Colombia did their job as pacesetters.

They ran consistently, reeling off miles of just under 5 minutes, while protecting the elite runners from the brisk 20-30 mph headwinds.

Then, after the 13.1-mile point, all the pacers dropped out except for Silva, who continued on until between miles 17 and 18. He then put on a big spurt, before jumping onto the camera truck.

The mile between 13 and 14 was the slowest at 5:05, and the pace remained slowed for the next two miles before the leaders began attacking.

Finally, with just more than two miles left, it came down to a battle between Castro and Chebet, with Kagwe dropping back and finishing fifth.

Chebet received $50,000 for winning plus a car and $20,000 bonus for going under 2:10:00. Fernandez also earned $50,000 plus a car and $25,000 for running under 2:26:00.

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